Huck Finn's Father

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Huck Finn's pap was never an angel. In Mark Twain's famous telling, he had a bad drinking problem and a cross of nails in the heel of his boot. He locked Huck in a Mississippi river cabin and beat him hard, so hard that Huck took off.

Now, novelist Jon Clinch has picked up Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" and imagined the rest of Finn Sr.'s story. It reads more like a David Lynch film: dark, violent, scary, and ultimately, illuminating. This is another side of America's life on the Mississippi.

This hour On Point: author Jon Clinch talks about his hair-raising twist on Twain's classic.

Quotes from the Show:

"A lot of people said it would be a bad idea to try to follow Twain's lead and write this book because they thought I'd be compared to Mark Twain and found wanting. They thought that it was probably a poor idea to mock about with one of America's greatest literary icons, Huckleberry Finn, himself. But I think it was more a matter of honor and humility than a matter of nerve." Jon Clinch

"Mark Twain was a very dark, depressed individual and grew only more dark, more depressed as his life went on. And I think in some measure this story is as much a reflection of my understanding of Twain's character as it is of my understanding, if I can put it this way, of Twain's characters." Jon Clinch


Jon Clinch, author of "Finn"

Laura Scandara Trombley, President of Pitzer College, Mark Twain scholar

This program aired on May 9, 2007.


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