THE AMERICAN WEST (mostly): Fact and Fiction (mostly fiction)

"NOBODY GETS TO BE A COWBOY FOREVER." -- Chet Rollins (Jack Palance) in MONTE WALSH (NG, 1970)

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Friday, April 19, 2013

FINN by Jon Clinch

(Random House, 2007)
If you are a fan of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as I am, you may have wondered about Huck's parents. Why was his father an alcoholic vagrant who abused his son? How did that father end up dead in a house floating down the Mississippi River? Moreover, who was Huck's mother?  What happened to her?

Now we have the answers to those questions and more. Mark Twain does not provide them, but Jon Clinch does in his impressive debut novel, Finn.  Finally, we have Huckleberry Finn's back story. It helps us understand him a little better.

I must admit that there were times as I was reading the book that I wondered if it would have held my interest to the degree that it did if it were about a man named Finn who had no connection with Twain's classic. In other words, would it still have merit if it had been forced to stand alone?  Eventually, my answer to that question was, yes, it would still have merit, but the fact that it provided some details in the life of one of my very favorite fictional characters added to my appreciation and enjoyment of the novel.  Besides, it took considerable courage to tackle a novel dealing with what is already one of literature's most famous characters.  For that alone, Clinch should be commended. 

Clinch is a talented writer and I look forward to reading more of his work.

Jon Clinch

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