In this masterful debut by a major new voice in fiction, 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 result is a deeply original tour de force that springs from Twain s classic novel but takes on a fully realized life of its own.
"Finn" sets a tragic figure loose in a landscape at once familiar and mythic. It begins and ends with a lifeless body flayed and stripped of all identifying marks 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 Clinch introduces 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. In daring to re-create Huck for a new generation, Clinch gives us a living boy in all his human complexity not an icon, not a myth, but a real child facing vast possibilities in a world alternately dangerous and bright.
"Finn "is a novel about race; about paternity in its many guises; about the shame of a nation recapitulated by the shame of one absolutely unforgettable family. Above all, Finn reaches back into the darkest waters of America s past to fashion something compelling, fearless, and new.
Praise for "Finn"
A brave and ambitious debut novel It stands on its own while giving new life and meaning to Twain s novel, which has been stirring passions and debates since 1885 triumph of imagination and graceful writing . Bookstores and libraries shelve novels alphabetically by authors names. That leaves Clinch a long way from Twain. But on my bookshelves, they'll lean against each other. I d like to think that the cantankerous Twain would welcome the company.
Ravishing In the saga of this tormented human being, Clinch brings us a radical (and endlessly debatable) new take on Twain s classic, and a stand-alone marvel of a novel. Grade: A.
A fascinating, original read.
Haunting Clinch reimagines Finn in a strikingly original way, replacing Huck s voice with his own magisterial vision one that s nothing short of revelatory Spellbinding.
Meticulously crafted Marvelous imagination The Finn of Clinch s novel is certainly a racist villain but also psychologically disturbed and disconcertingly compelling.
"SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
" From the barest of hints in Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn," Clinch has created a fully believable world inhabited by fully realized characters. Clinch treads dangerous ground in making one of America s greatest novels his jumping-off point, but he brings it off magnificently The language of this book is one of its great beauties "Finn" is far from one-dimensional, and that is another beauty of the book. Clinch has a knack for putting us squarely inside the heads of his characters .Clinch draws as compelling and realistic a picture as any we re likely to find "Finn" stands on its own. The richness of its language, the depth of its characters, the emotional and societal tangles through which they struggle to navigate add up to a portrait of life on the Mississippi as we ve never before experienced it.
"dallas morning news
His models may include Cormac McCarthy, and Charles Frazier, whose "Cold Mountain "also has a voice that sounds like 19th-century American (both formal and colloquial) but has a contemporary terseness and spikiness. This voice couldn t be better suited to a historical novel with a modernist sensibility: Clinch s riverbank Missouri feels postapocalyptic, and his Pap Finn is a crazed yet wily survivor in a polluted landscape Clinch s Pap is a convincingly nightmarish extrapol
Random House Publishing Group