This lovely, zestful, imaginative novel has one of the protagonists finding a job in a bookshop.  He tentatively shares with his boss the fact that he seems to be seeing things, namely a full grown living lion on the streets of a town far from any leonine landscapes.  He wonders, as you might, if he is going nuts.  A risky thing to draw your boss’s attention to, he begins by mentioning that a person can sometimes find themselves victim to hallucinations or similar.

The bookshop owner runs with the idea drawing on his own experience of being delusional, in his case by believing that his bookshop is a business.

‘Exactly,’ said Jachin-Boaz.  ‘He could have delusions, hallucinations.’   ‘Happens every day of the week,’ said the owner.  ‘Sometimes I, for example, have the delusion that this shop is a business.  Then I come back to reality and realize it’s just an expensive hobby.’

Source: Russell Hoban, The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (London: Picador, 1979), p. 62

Photo credit: Dmitrij Paskevic at


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