Dan Walker answers the questions Mark Twain avoided: What if Huck Finn carries out his promise, at the end of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, to "light out for the Territory"? Twain himself got sixty-two pages into the prairie and lost interest. But what if Huck, Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, and the rest are caught up-as they surely would be-in the crisis of the Civil War? What choices will they make when history calls? For the boy who once said, "All right, then, I'll go to Hell," what might that mean in the Valley of Mexico, parted from the love of his life, apparently forever, or behind rebel lines in the wilderness of central Virginia, with the duty to kill or capture old friends on the other side? How would our ageless boy do in such trials? Hell might be preferable.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a sequel to Twain's immortal novel, which is certainly presumptuous for a first novel--but it tackles hard issues from a fresh perspective: what if Huck winds up having to make hard choices in the hardest of times--the Civil War? And the writer takes what may be the biggest risk of all: the narrator is NOT Huck himself but a close associate, a straight arrow who doesn't much like grifters like Huck who break the rules and live charmed lives. The narrator quotes from Huck's journal, though, and other sources as he tries, late in his life, to reconstruct what's happened to Huck--and also come to terms with his own morally dubious role. Huck's voice in the journals is dead-on, and the speaker's voice, dry and ironic, makes a good contrast, and the action moves at a brisk pace for a tale that covers so much time and space. Walker's attempt at a sequel is not the first: generations have wondered what would happen if Huck carried out his promise, at the end of The Adventures, to ¿light out for the Territory¿? Twain himself got 62 pages into his own sequel and lost interest. Why? Is it possible he knew Huck, Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, and the rest might be caught up in the national crises of Manifest Destiny and the Civil War--in ways Twain didn't feel he could talk about? For the Boy who once said ¿All right, then, I¿ll go to Hell¿¿what would that mean in the Valley of Mexico, parted from the love of his life, apparently forever¿ or behind Rebel lines in the Wilderness of central Virginia, with the duty to kill or capture people near and dear to him? How would our ageless Boy do in such trials? Maybe Twain didn't know--but Hell might be preferable. Anybody who has read Twain¿s original¿plus anyone interested in the Civil War and historical might-have-beens 'Huck has a chance to change history after all' should find this fascinating. Important figures have roles here: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Winfield Scott, among others. Those with a Civil War interest should find it particularly interesting--the author knows his stuff, especially about the Chancellorsville campaign. A couple of things might give you trouble: the story switches at a couple of points from the time line of Huck's story to the narrator's later investigation, but that's a rare intrusion and it makes the narrator a more interesting character--easier to relate to than Huck actually. You'll eventually figure out who the narrator is, but why spoil it? Another issue might be the number of famous names who get to make appearances by just happening to be close to the action. But these are well enough accounted for to be acceptable. And the author's history, where he needs it, is solid.