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Finn: A Novel

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Finn: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781400065912
ISBN10: 1400065917
Condition: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"In prose that properly refuses to do battle against Twain's most luminous work, Clinch carves out his own river and the man who made Huck Finn the boy to end all boys. You page forward to see what sort of a horror this guy might be, but the story drags you downstream....The exploration of race, uncompelling and practiced, would not be worth noting if it weren't for the fact that Clinch gets one thing so very right. Fear is a kind of storyteller in itself." Tom Chiarella, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

"Finn brims with tension, fueled by sentences as taut as a cane pole wrestling a catfish in muddy waters. Considering the heady literary terrain Clinch hopes to master, the novel succeeds better than anyone other than its author could have expected. It offers a jolting companion to the mischievous antics of Huckleberry Finn." Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review here)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"In this darkly luminous debut, Finn, the namesake of the title, is not Twain's illustrious Huck, but Huck's father, 'Pap.' As the novel opens, an African-American woman's bloated corpse floats downriver from Lasseter, Ill., toward the slave territory of St. Petersburg, Mo. In the Lasseter woods, Finn — a dangerous, bigoted drunk — tells his blind bootlegger friend, Bliss, that he's finally 'quit' his on-again, off-again African-American companion Mary, the mother of Finn's second son (also, confusingly, named Huck). Chronically short on money, Finn is shunned by his father (Adams County Judge James Manchester Finn) and by his brother, Will. Finn does odd jobs, traps catfish and claims tutelary rights to Huckleberry's share of Injun Joe's gold. (In this last, he is thwarted by Widow Douglas and Judge Thatcher, high-handed and stifling as ever.) The opaque in medias res narrative then backs up to detail Finn and Mary's life together: his drinking, his stint in the penitentiary following an assault (sentenced by his own father), Mary's rising debts and Finn's attempts at restitution. As the nature of the woman's murder becomes clear, Clinch lyrically renders the Mississippi River's ceaseless flow, while revealing Finn's brutal contradictions, his violence, arrogance and self-reproach. If Clinch's debut falls short of Twain's achievement, it does further Twain's fiction." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Early in 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,' the boys in Tom Sawyer's gang pledge to kill the families of any member who reveals their secrets. But one of them objects that Huck 'hain't got no family.''Well, hain't he got a father?' asks Tom Sawyer. 'Yes, he's a got a father, but you can't never find him.' Until now. Jon Clinch's haunting first novel not only finds Pap, but in the life of this violent... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Early in 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,' the boys in Tom Sawyer's gang pledge to kill the families of any member who reveals their secrets. But one of them objects that Huck 'hain't got no family.'

'Well, hain't he got a father?' asks Tom Sawyer.

'Yes, he's a got a father, but you can't never find him.'

Until now.

Jon Clinch's haunting... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A] ravishing first novel....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)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"[A] bold debut that takes a few tentative steps in tandem with the familiar Twain, but then veers off dexterously down a much more insidious, harrowing path." Booklist

Review:

"Despite needlessly confusing chronology, a memorable debut, likely to make waves." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Every fan of Twain's masterpiece will want to read this inspired spin-off, which could become an unofficial companion volume." Library Journal

Review:

"Jon Clinch has staked himself to a stiff challenge in his debut novel: casting Mark Twain's monstrous creation Pap Finn...as a leading man. The resulting book is dark and often gripping, though marred by stylistic excess and a shortage of pathos." Steve Almond, Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[A] brave and ambitious debut novel inspired by Mark Twain's masterpiece....Finn is a triumph of imagination and graceful writing. It's a puzzle built on clues that Twain left at Pap Finn's murder scene." USA Today

Review:

"Finn can certainly be read on its own, but the real pleasure lies in reading the two books together....Clinch admits the distance between that which we know and dare acknowledge of the human condition, and that which we can only shudder to imagine. San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Clinch's novel doesn't have the magical quality that Twain's masterpiece did, and at times it is a bit confusing....Overall, though, Clinch offers a unique perspective of one of the most hideous of characters in classic fiction and does so with a brave new twist." Denver Post

Review:

"Has Clinch paid homage or dishonored Twain by appropriating his characters for his own purpose? Readers will have their own answers, but anyone who encounters Finn will long be haunted by this dark and bloody tale." Hartford Courant

Review:

"Clinch is a talented writer who crafts many gripping scenes in Finn....But it must also be said that as a novelist, he manages to undercut his own effectiveness with some overloaded sentences, lit-crit phrasing and strained syntax, making choices of language that are jarring." Chicago Tribune

Synopsis:

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.

-USA TODAY

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.

-ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

A fascinating, original read.

-people

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.

-WASHINGTON POST

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 extrapolation of Twain's. He's the mad, lost and dangerous center of a world we'd hate to live in-or do we still live there?-and crave to revisit as soon as we close the book.

-newsweek

I haven't been swallowed whole by a work of fiction in some time. Jon Clinch's first novel has done it: sucked me under like I was a rag doll thrown into the wake of a Mississippi steamboat...Jon Clinch has turned in a nearly perfect first book, a creative response that matches The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in intensity and tenacious soul-searching about racism. I wish I could write well enough to construct a dramatic, subtle and mysterious story out of careful, plodding and unromantic prose, but for now I'm just happy to have an alchemist like Jon Clinch do it for me.

-BOOKSLUT

Finn strikes its most original chords in its bold imagining of possibilities left unexplored by Huckleberry Finn.

-austin american-statesman

An inspired riff on one of literature's all-time great villains...This tale of fathers and sons, slavery and freedom, better angels at war with dark demons, is filled with passages of brilliant description, violence that is close-up and terrifying...Everything in this novel could have happened, and we believe it... so the great river of stories is too, twisting and turning, inspiring such surprising and inspired riffs and tributes as Finn.

-new orleans times-picayune

A triumph of succesful plotting, convincing characterization and lyrical prose.

-ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS

Shocking and charming. Clinch creates a folk-art masterpiece that will delight, beguile and entertain as it does justice to its predecessor...In Finn, Clinch expands the bloodlines and scope of the original story and casts new light on the troubled legacy of our country's infamous past.

-new york post

In Clinch's retelling, Pap Finn comes vibrantly to life as a complex, mysterious, strangely likable figure.

Synopsis:

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.

-USA TODAY

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.

-ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

A fascinating, original read.

-people

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.

-WASHINGTON POST

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 extrapolation of Twain's. He's the mad, lost and dangerous center of a world we'd hate to live in-or do we still live there?-and crave to revisit as soon as we close the book.

-newsweek

I haven't been swallowed whole by a work of fiction in some time. Jon Clinch's first novel has done it: sucked me under like I was a rag doll thrown into the wake of a Mississippi steamboat...Jon Clinch has turned in a nearly perfect first book, a creative response that matches The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in intensity and tenacious soul-searching about racism. I wish I could write well enough to construct a dramatic, subtle and mysterious story out of careful, plodding and unromantic prose, but for now I'm just happy to have an alchemist like Jon Clinch do it for me.

-BOOKSLUT

Finn strikes its most original chords in its bold imagining of possibilities left unexplored by Huckleberry Finn.

-austin american-statesman

An inspired riff on one of literature's all-time great villains...This tale of fathers and sons, slavery and freedom, better angels at war with dark demons, is filled with passages of brilliant description, violence that is close-up and terrifying...Everything in this novel could have happened, and we believe it... so the great river of stories is too, twisting and turning, inspiring such surprising and inspired riffs and tributes as Finn.

-new orleans times-picayune

A triumph of succesful plotting, convincing characterization and lyrical prose.

-ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS

Shocking and charming. Clinch creates a folk-art masterpiece that will delight, beguile and entertain as it does justice to its predecessor...In Finn, Clinch expands the bloodlines and scope of the original story and casts new light on the troubled legacy of our country's infamous past.

-new york post

In Clinch's retelling, Pap Finn comes vibrantly to life as a complex, mysterious, strangely likable figure...Clinch includes many sharply realized, sometimes harrowing, even gruesome scenes...Finn should appeal not only to scholars of 19th century literature but to anyone who cares to sample a forceful debut novel inspired by a now-mythic American story.

-atlanta journal-consitution

What makes bearable this river voyage that never ventures far beyond the banks is the compelling narrative Clinch has created. He writes exceedingly well, not with the immediacy Twain imbued to Huck's voice, but with an impersonal narrator's voice that almost perversely refuses to take sides. And the plot is masterful.

-fredericksburg freelance-star

Disturbing and darkly compelling...Clinch displays impressive imagination and descriptiveness...anyone who encounters Finn will long be hautned by this dark and bloody tale.

-hartford courant

Jon Clinch pulls off the near impossible in his new novel, Finn, which brings Huck's dad to life in all his terrible humanness...Clinch vividly paints the origins of the amazing Huck...powerfully told.

-winston-salem journal

Gripping...he inventively remaps known literary territory...the descriptive riffs are lucent.

-chicago tribune

The best debut so far of 2007.

-men's journal

Inventing Huckleberry Finn's father using only the thin scraps of information that Mark Twain provided is a pretty admirable feat, and reading Jon Clinch's first novel provides an almost tactile pleasure...Clinch clearly respects Twain, but he doesn't feel especially cowed by his inspiration, and some of his inventions qualify as genuine improvements on the original text.

-washington city paper

In this darkly luminous debut...Clinch lyrically renders the Mississippi River's ceaseless flow, while revealing Finn's brutal contradictions, his violence, arrogance and self-reproach.

-Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

Bold and deeply disturbing. . . A few incidents duplicate those in Twain,

but the novels could not be more different; instead of Huck's unlettered child's voice,

we have an omniscient narrative, grave, erudite and rich in the secretions of adult knowledge;

terse dialogue acts as an effective counterpoint. All along, Clinch's intent

is to probe the nature of evil . . . a memorable debut, likely to make waves.

-KIRKUS REVIEWS, STARRED review

Every fan of Twain's masterpiece will want to read this inspired spin-off, which could become an unofficial companion volume.

-LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED review

This is a bold debut that takes a few tentative steps in tandem with the familiar Twain,

but then veers off dexterously down a much more insidious, harrowing path.

-BOOKLIST

Jon Clinch's first novel Finn...succeeds wonderfully because its gritty lyricism is at once authentic and original...reminiscent at times of Cormac McCarthy...the eloquence of the telling will never make the courageous reader wish for a gentler touch. Like any appealing novel, Finn achieves the force of a dream with fascinating actions, indelible characters and spellbinding language. Its author is wily, astute and wise... Finn is a challenging and rewarding exploration of the suffering human heart. From the ominous shadow that was Pap Finn, Clinch has fashioned an unforgettable, twisted man and a marvelous novel.

-ROANOKE TIMES

Next month Clinch makes his publishing debut with Finn, taking up where Mark Twain left Mr. Finn 120 years ago: dead in a room surrounded by such mysterious oddities as a wooden leg, women's underclothing, and two black cloth masks. It's a great read.

-Knoxville News Sentinel

About the Author

A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Syracuse University, Jon Clinch has taught American literature, has been creative director for a Philadelphia ad agency, and has run his own agency in the Philadelphia suburbs. His stories have appeared in John Gardner's MSS. magazine. He and his wife have one daughter.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Mentalfloss1, March 25, 2009 (view all comments by Mentalfloss1)
In Huckleberry Finn we see Huck's dad mentioned here and there, and never in a good light. What sort of person was Pap Finn? Jon Clinch, the author of Finn: A Novel tells us his vision of Huck's father, and it's not a bright picture.

Clinch weaves the story of Pap Finn so that it meshes with the storyline of Twain's novel, and he does a beautiful job. This could be seen as a gimmick if Clinch hadn't done such a compelling job.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400065912
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Clinch, Jon
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Boys
Subject:
Race relations
Subject:
Male friendship
Copyright:
Publication Date:
February 20, 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A.&#8221;<br>&#8211;<i>ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY<br></i
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.40x6.38x1.03 in. 1.21 lbs.

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Finn: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Random House - English 9781400065912 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this darkly luminous debut, Finn, the namesake of the title, is not Twain's illustrious Huck, but Huck's father, 'Pap.' As the novel opens, an African-American woman's bloated corpse floats downriver from Lasseter, Ill., toward the slave territory of St. Petersburg, Mo. In the Lasseter woods, Finn — a dangerous, bigoted drunk — tells his blind bootlegger friend, Bliss, that he's finally 'quit' his on-again, off-again African-American companion Mary, the mother of Finn's second son (also, confusingly, named Huck). Chronically short on money, Finn is shunned by his father (Adams County Judge James Manchester Finn) and by his brother, Will. Finn does odd jobs, traps catfish and claims tutelary rights to Huckleberry's share of Injun Joe's gold. (In this last, he is thwarted by Widow Douglas and Judge Thatcher, high-handed and stifling as ever.) The opaque in medias res narrative then backs up to detail Finn and Mary's life together: his drinking, his stint in the penitentiary following an assault (sentenced by his own father), Mary's rising debts and Finn's attempts at restitution. As the nature of the woman's murder becomes clear, Clinch lyrically renders the Mississippi River's ceaseless flow, while revealing Finn's brutal contradictions, his violence, arrogance and self-reproach. If Clinch's debut falls short of Twain's achievement, it does further Twain's fiction." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "In prose that properly refuses to do battle against Twain's most luminous work, Clinch carves out his own river and the man who made Huck Finn the boy to end all boys. You page forward to see what sort of a horror this guy might be, but the story drags you downstream....The exploration of race, uncompelling and practiced, would not be worth noting if it weren't for the fact that Clinch gets one thing so very right. Fear is a kind of storyteller in itself." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review A Day" by , "Finn brims with tension, fueled by sentences as taut as a cane pole wrestling a catfish in muddy waters. Considering the heady literary terrain Clinch hopes to master, the novel succeeds better than anyone other than its author could have expected. It offers a jolting companion to the mischievous antics of Huckleberry Finn." (read the entire CSM review here)
"Review" by , "[A] ravishing first novel....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)"
"Review" by , "[A] bold debut that takes a few tentative steps in tandem with the familiar Twain, but then veers off dexterously down a much more insidious, harrowing path."
"Review" by , "Despite needlessly confusing chronology, a memorable debut, likely to make waves."
"Review" by , "Every fan of Twain's masterpiece will want to read this inspired spin-off, which could become an unofficial companion volume."
"Review" by , "Jon Clinch has staked himself to a stiff challenge in his debut novel: casting Mark Twain's monstrous creation Pap Finn...as a leading man. The resulting book is dark and often gripping, though marred by stylistic excess and a shortage of pathos."
"Review" by , "[A] brave and ambitious debut novel inspired by Mark Twain's masterpiece....Finn is a triumph of imagination and graceful writing. It's a puzzle built on clues that Twain left at Pap Finn's murder scene."
"Review" by , "Finn can certainly be read on its own, but the real pleasure lies in reading the two books together....Clinch admits the distance between that which we know and dare acknowledge of the human condition, and that which we can only shudder to imagine.
"Review" by , "Clinch's novel doesn't have the magical quality that Twain's masterpiece did, and at times it is a bit confusing....Overall, though, Clinch offers a unique perspective of one of the most hideous of characters in classic fiction and does so with a brave new twist."
"Review" by , "Has Clinch paid homage or dishonored Twain by appropriating his characters for his own purpose? Readers will have their own answers, but anyone who encounters Finn will long be haunted by this dark and bloody tale."
"Review" by , "Clinch is a talented writer who crafts many gripping scenes in Finn....But it must also be said that as a novelist, he manages to undercut his own effectiveness with some overloaded sentences, lit-crit phrasing and strained syntax, making choices of language that are jarring."
"Synopsis" by , 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.

-USA TODAY

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.

-ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

A fascinating, original read.

-people

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.

-WASHINGTON POST

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 extrapolation of Twain's. He's the mad, lost and dangerous center of a world we'd hate to live in-or do we still live there?-and crave to revisit as soon as we close the book.

-newsweek

I haven't been swallowed whole by a work of fiction in some time. Jon Clinch's first novel has done it: sucked me under like I was a rag doll thrown into the wake of a Mississippi steamboat...Jon Clinch has turned in a nearly perfect first book, a creative response that matches The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in intensity and tenacious soul-searching about racism. I wish I could write well enough to construct a dramatic, subtle and mysterious story out of careful, plodding and unromantic prose, but for now I'm just happy to have an alchemist like Jon Clinch do it for me.

-BOOKSLUT

Finn strikes its most original chords in its bold imagining of possibilities left unexplored by Huckleberry Finn.

-austin american-statesman

An inspired riff on one of literature's all-time great villains...This tale of fathers and sons, slavery and freedom, better angels at war with dark demons, is filled with passages of brilliant description, violence that is close-up and terrifying...Everything in this novel could have happened, and we believe it... so the great river of stories is too, twisting and turning, inspiring such surprising and inspired riffs and tributes as Finn.

-new orleans times-picayune

A triumph of succesful plotting, convincing characterization and lyrical prose.

-ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS

Shocking and charming. Clinch creates a folk-art masterpiece that will delight, beguile and entertain as it does justice to its predecessor...In Finn, Clinch expands the bloodlines and scope of the original story and casts new light on the troubled legacy of our country's infamous past.

-new york post

In Clinch's retelling, Pap Finn comes vibrantly to life as a complex, mysterious, strangely likable figure.

"Synopsis" by , 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.

-USA TODAY

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.

-ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

A fascinating, original read.

-people

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.

-WASHINGTON POST

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 extrapolation of Twain's. He's the mad, lost and dangerous center of a world we'd hate to live in-or do we still live there?-and crave to revisit as soon as we close the book.

-newsweek

I haven't been swallowed whole by a work of fiction in some time. Jon Clinch's first novel has done it: sucked me under like I was a rag doll thrown into the wake of a Mississippi steamboat...Jon Clinch has turned in a nearly perfect first book, a creative response that matches The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in intensity and tenacious soul-searching about racism. I wish I could write well enough to construct a dramatic, subtle and mysterious story out of careful, plodding and unromantic prose, but for now I'm just happy to have an alchemist like Jon Clinch do it for me.

-BOOKSLUT

Finn strikes its most original chords in its bold imagining of possibilities left unexplored by Huckleberry Finn.

-austin american-statesman

An inspired riff on one of literature's all-time great villains...This tale of fathers and sons, slavery and freedom, better angels at war with dark demons, is filled with passages of brilliant description, violence that is close-up and terrifying...Everything in this novel could have happened, and we believe it... so the great river of stories is too, twisting and turning, inspiring such surprising and inspired riffs and tributes as Finn.

-new orleans times-picayune

A triumph of succesful plotting, convincing characterization and lyrical prose.

-ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS

Shocking and charming. Clinch creates a folk-art masterpiece that will delight, beguile and entertain as it does justice to its predecessor...In Finn, Clinch expands the bloodlines and scope of the original story and casts new light on the troubled legacy of our country's infamous past.

-new york post

In Clinch's retelling, Pap Finn comes vibrantly to life as a complex, mysterious, strangely likable figure...Clinch includes many sharply realized, sometimes harrowing, even gruesome scenes...Finn should appeal not only to scholars of 19th century literature but to anyone who cares to sample a forceful debut novel inspired by a now-mythic American story.

-atlanta journal-consitution

What makes bearable this river voyage that never ventures far beyond the banks is the compelling narrative Clinch has created. He writes exceedingly well, not with the immediacy Twain imbued to Huck's voice, but with an impersonal narrator's voice that almost perversely refuses to take sides. And the plot is masterful.

-fredericksburg freelance-star

Disturbing and darkly compelling...Clinch displays impressive imagination and descriptiveness...anyone who encounters Finn will long be hautned by this dark and bloody tale.

-hartford courant

Jon Clinch pulls off the near impossible in his new novel, Finn, which brings Huck's dad to life in all his terrible humanness...Clinch vividly paints the origins of the amazing Huck...powerfully told.

-winston-salem journal

Gripping...he inventively remaps known literary territory...the descriptive riffs are lucent.

-chicago tribune

The best debut so far of 2007.

-men's journal

Inventing Huckleberry Finn's father using only the thin scraps of information that Mark Twain provided is a pretty admirable feat, and reading Jon Clinch's first novel provides an almost tactile pleasure...Clinch clearly respects Twain, but he doesn't feel especially cowed by his inspiration, and some of his inventions qualify as genuine improvements on the original text.

-washington city paper

In this darkly luminous debut...Clinch lyrically renders the Mississippi River's ceaseless flow, while revealing Finn's brutal contradictions, his violence, arrogance and self-reproach.

-Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

Bold and deeply disturbing. . . A few incidents duplicate those in Twain,

but the novels could not be more different; instead of Huck's unlettered child's voice,

we have an omniscient narrative, grave, erudite and rich in the secretions of adult knowledge;

terse dialogue acts as an effective counterpoint. All along, Clinch's intent

is to probe the nature of evil . . . a memorable debut, likely to make waves.

-KIRKUS REVIEWS, STARRED review

Every fan of Twain's masterpiece will want to read this inspired spin-off, which could become an unofficial companion volume.

-LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED review

This is a bold debut that takes a few tentative steps in tandem with the familiar Twain,

but then veers off dexterously down a much more insidious, harrowing path.

-BOOKLIST

Jon Clinch's first novel Finn...succeeds wonderfully because its gritty lyricism is at once authentic and original...reminiscent at times of Cormac McCarthy...the eloquence of the telling will never make the courageous reader wish for a gentler touch. Like any appealing novel, Finn achieves the force of a dream with fascinating actions, indelible characters and spellbinding language. Its author is wily, astute and wise... Finn is a challenging and rewarding exploration of the suffering human heart. From the ominous shadow that was Pap Finn, Clinch has fashioned an unforgettable, twisted man and a marvelous novel.

-ROANOKE TIMES

Next month Clinch makes his publishing debut with Finn, taking up where Mark Twain left Mr. Finn 120 years ago: dead in a room surrounded by such mysterious oddities as a wooden leg, women's underclothing, and two black cloth masks. It's a great read.

-Knoxville News Sentinel

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