by Jon Clinch
"Jon Clinch takes us on a journey into the history and heart of one of American Literature's most brutal and mysterious figures: Huckleberry Finn's father.
The tale begins with a lifeless body drifting down the Mississippi. The circumstances of the murder, and the secret of the victim's identity, shape Finn's story as they will shape his life and his death. Along the way we meet a cast of unforgettable characters: Finn's terrifying father, known only as the Judge; his sickly, sycophantic brother, Will; blind Bliss, a secretive moonshiner; the strong and quick-witted Mary, a stolen slave who becomes Finn's mistress; and of course young Huck himself." (From the back of the Random House Trade Paperback edition.)
Finn is a remarkable book. Harsh and realistic in a manner that its inspiration only hinted at, it does not have the whimsical charm of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but is a perfect companion and foil.
Finn beautifully integrates characters and scenes from Huck Finn, sometimes perfectly, sometimes changed due to adopting the stance that Huck, being a child, was an unreliable narrator of his own story. Either way, Clinch's telling of Huck's father's story is riveting and haunting and has me itching to reread Huck Finn armed with this new knowledge. The scene of Huck and Jim discovering and exploring the house floating down the river will never feel the same again.
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!