by Jon Clinch, Jared Leto
4.3 34

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Finn by Jon Clinch

This is the 10th-Anniversary Edition of Finn--with a new introduction by Jared Leto, a new Finn short story, an essay on the writing of the novel, a Q&A with the author, and a guide for book clubs.

In this masterful debut, 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 brutal, shocking and epic look in the mirror for all Americans."
-- Jared Leto, from the introduction

"Ravishing...and a stand-alone marvel of a novel. Grade: A."
-- Entertainment Weekly

"Clinch treads dangerous ground in making one of America's greatest novels his jumping-off point, but he brings it off magnificently."
-- Dallas Morning News

"Clinch's riverbank Missouri feels postapocalyptic, and his Pap Finn is a crazed yet wily survivor in a polluted landscape."
-- Newsweek

"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."
-- New Orleans Times-Picayune

"A jolting companion to the mischievous antics of Huckleberry Finn."
-- Christian Science Monitor

"A triumph of successful plotting, convincing characterization and lyrical prose."
-- Rocky Mountain News

"Shocking and charming, A folk-art masterpiece."
-- New York Post

"Disturbing and darkly compelling."
-- Hartford Courant

"Jon Clinch pulls off the near impossible in his new novel, which brings Huck's dad to life in all his terrible humanness."
-- Winston-Salem Journal

"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
"Finn is as dark, as brutal, as ambivalent, and as insane as the history and legacy of American racial slavery."
-- Mary Gaitskill, author of Veronica

"Clinch's tale is not only filled with echoes of the great American classic to which it is tied; it is destined to become one itself."
-- Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

Product Details

BN ID: 2940157193775
Publisher: unmediated ink
Publication date: 04/29/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 617,613
File size: 612 KB

About the Author

About Jon Clinch:

Born and raised in the remote heart of upstate New York, Jon Clinch has been an English teacher, a metalworker, a folksinger, an illustrator, a typeface designer, a housepainter, a copywriter, and an advertising executive.

His first novel, Finn—the secret history of Huckleberry Finn’s father—was named an American Library Association Notable Book and was chosen as one of the year's best books by the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor. It won the Philadelphia Athenaeum Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Sargent First Novel Prize.

His second novel, Kings of the Earth—a powerful tale of life, death, and family in rural America, based on a true story—was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post and led the 2010 Summer Reading List at O, The Oprah Magazine.

Jon has lectured and taught widely, in settings as varied as the National Council of Teachers of English, Williams College, the Mark Twain House and Museum, and Pennsylvania State University. In 2008 he organized a benefit reading for the financially-ailing Twain House—enlisting such authors as Tom Perrotta, Stewart O’Nan, and Robert Hicks—an event that literally saved the house from bankruptcy. A native of upstate New York, Jon lives with his wife in the Green Mountains of Vermont. They have one daughter.


Harleysville, Pennsylvania

Date of Birth:

September 12, 1954

Place of Birth:

Oneida, New York


A.B. in English, Syracuse University, 1976

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Finn 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
About this time last year, I was looking for titles to pitch to my book club and came across Finn. I can't remember where I saw it, but it was a staff pick at one of the indie stores. The staffer had a lot of good things to say about it, but I was skeptical. I was intrigued by the premise, but doubtful. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a timeless classic so I wasn't interested in reading anything that would taint my memory of it. However, if the author chose to build upon it.well, that I could see. That's exactly what Jon Clinch does. Here's a passage from The Adventure's of Huckleberry Finn as said, by Jim: It's a dead man. Yes, indeedy; naked too. He's ben shot in de back. I reck'n he's ben dead two er three days. Come in, Huck but doan' look at his face-it's too gashly. The actual passage is quite a bit longer, but Clinch takes that passage and fills in the details to create Finn, which in and of itself, is its own story. Admittedly, the first half of the book is a bit monotonous. Finn is a simple man on the surface. He spends most of his day fishing, only to trade his catch for whiskey later. The daily routine of a drunkard can be a tad repetitive but in sharing this with us, Clinch gives us a feel for who Finn is. In between these drunken episodes, there are moments of clarity. Moments where Finn shows compassion, or pity.or even intelligence but there are also moments of pure hatred and viciousness. His behavior is almost animal-like in nature, and he is brutal at times. As for his relationship with son, Huck.there is love there, but there is also a "what can he do for me?" attitude which is brought to our attention early on. Finn's strength is the ability to immediately assess a situation, to determine what's in it for him. This rings true for his interactions with several of other characters as well, and there are many wonderful characters in this novel. Finn takes from each of them, what he needs at that exact moment. Although Clinch remains true to the classic, he does take some liberties with Huck as we know him. I wasn't sure how I felt about them, but by the end of the story, it all felt right to me. As far as the actual writing, the story is told out-of-order, and as the story progresses, the pace quickens and each chapter becomes shorter in length. This format was incredibly effective and had me eagerly turning each page to see how the story ended. As the days pass, I find myself thinking about the complexity of such a story and how Clinch managed to pull it off.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Clinch is an English Teacher's dream student. I have not read a book this enjoyable in years. His descriptions of the Mississippi and its environs are so descriptive. You can smell the fish. The characters are so easy to imagine in the minds eye. The reader has no idea where the story is going. Great read!
Anonymous 5 days ago
It maytake a while to fall into sync with Clinch's pacing. I initially experienced fogginess in understanding the plotline due to the timeshifts and Cinch's method of developing details by sandwiching scenes out of sequence. That challenge to the reader pays off with a rewarding total experience after total consumption of the story. As this intelligent novel progressed, the puzzle became a satisfying picture much clearer as you realize you were not spoonfed on purpose. His method sparks intellect and displays an artistry to the written word. I finished with the feeling that I had experienced a novel as classic as Twain's. Robert Frost
Anonymous 5 months ago
Well written beautiful prose, intriguing story and characters
Linda84 More than 1 year ago
I found this book at the Goodwill store and didn't start reading it for awhile. Once I picked it up I totally enjoyed it and found it hard to put down.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MarktwainCT More than 1 year ago
John Clinch did a great job with this book.I found it written in the Mark Twain fashion I'm used to.It will compliment my Mark Twain collection very nicely
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Ever wonder what might have happened that cause Huck Finn's pap death, from the novel by Mark Twain? Now your wait is over. In this amazing tale by Jon Clinch named Finn. The main character being Huck's dad Finn. Throughout this novel Clinch is able to create Finn through his own point of view. Much like Huckleberry Finn Clinch writes about Finn's journey in life. Such as the struggle he went through, the adventures, problems with alcohol, and Finn's way of raising Huck. In Finn's adventures he faces much trouble with the law and much more. He also has many problems with his dad and "wife" with having disagreements. Finally, the death of Finn was very unexpected but expected at the same time. Who was his mystery murder? Reading Finn by Jon Clinch will astonish you, and will get very interesting. Clinch sets the novel in the 1800 when slaves and black were inferior to whites. A very interesting time period that Clinch's chooses, because it helps add more drama and suspense to the reading Clinch accomplishes all this by his descriptive words and images that make you feel like you were really there. Which increases theme of death and abusive relationship. In the end Jon Clinch wrote a great novel to bring Finn's character come out. I recommend this novel to all.
lcutty More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, though it is often disturbing. Mr. Clinch does Mr. Twain justice, in recomposing a wonderful, classic tale. The characters are gritty, the landscape so real and the dialogue (or lack there of) is brilliant. This book is not for everyone, but I think the ravenous reader will really appreciate this work of art.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just the writing itself is delicious, refreshingly literary. On top of that, the layers Clinch has added to Huck Finn's story are amazing, and he keeps it plausible, albeit challenging perhaps because of what we have been conditioned to think. Huck remains himself and is explained-not directly, but through circumstances. Pap himself is very complex, I found myself rooting for him to keep it together at times. Excellent, believable characters, mood, description, reactions of characters to events, yet much of the power of this book lies it what is left unsaid. A book for real readers. Might have blown Mark Twain's socks off. Must, must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a time when we are surrounded by shallow thinking and weak ideas from the leaders of our country to the people that control the entertainment industry, whose big ideas come from cartoons and comic books, this skillfully written debut novel from Jon Clinch seems to have slipped through the static and will surely rise to the top. FINN is a masterfully written, in-depth study of the complexity of the human condition. Clinch ingeniously uses the clues from TwainÕs masterpiece to flesh out the dark, brutal tale of Pap Finn. Clinch stands on the shoulders of Mark Twain and reaches lofty heights. Twain would have been proud.