Brandy's Reviews > Finn

Finn by Jon Clinch
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's review
Dec 22, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: 2008reads, audiobooks, historical, library, adult, realistic
Read in May, 2008

Nancy Pearl herself gave me permission to not finish this. I should have listened.

It's not a horrible book. It's not even a bad book, really--if it weren't trying to do something with the iconic Huck Finn it might have been quite good.

Well, maybe not. The language and syntax of the omniscient, third-person narrator are too sophisticated, too literary, too polished for this to really feel like Pap Finn's story. The novel jumps back and forth temporally, flashbacks mixed into the present, and all written in the present tense with no signifiers of when the action is happening. The parade of cameo appearances--Judge Thatcher, the Widow Douglas--feels like the wretched Gump & Co., in which every culturally-significant event was somehow tied to Forrest Gump: in this case, characters are poking their heads over fences just to wave and mug for the camera, Clinch demanding every denizen of the town be noticed to anchor his own material in Twain's.

And this isn't even touching on what the author has done to poor Huck, the history he (the author) feels is so brilliant that Mark Twain would have approved of it, even though it calls into question the whole philosophical point of Huckleberry Finn. I recognize where his argument comes from, but I don't believe it--not the way he presents it here, anyway.

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