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I'm usually not a huge fan of reading literary fan fiction, but ye gads -- Robert Coover? So, I picked it up. It wasn't The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and it wasn't The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. or The Public Burning either, but it was still fantastic.
It felt like a western lit combination of Larry McMurtry and Charles Portis. In many ways Coover captures the baked-in contradictions and tensions of America captured by Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. "We ARE America, client the Bone! This is where the wonderfullest nation the world has ever seen is getting born I BELIEVE that! It'll be GREAT! A new land of freedom and progress and brotherhood!" Well, in this novel Huck is freedom and Tom is the progress and power.
The book reminds me constantly of the brilliance of stories in creating America, from the creation myths of its founding to the later stories told by those settling the West. We are a nation of storytellers and gold seekers. We are a nation of outlaw duos that like binary stars will forever orbit together in myth and legend: Tom & Huck, Kim and Kanye, Brangelina. That doesn't mean there isn't tension, but what is a good American story without a breakup.
Some of my favorite lines from this book:
"A river don't make you feel less lonely but it makes you feel there ain't nothing wrong with being lonely."
"Maybe if I went on pretending, she'd go on pretending, and we could live a pretend life like that. Wasn't that how most lives was?"
"Laughing all we have, Hahza. No Great Spirits. Only laughing."
"But paying for sins is like getting the bad luck a body deserves for doing what he oughtn't done, like handling a snake-skin or stealing a dead man's boots."
"Dyin' improves EVERYBODY"
"Did you ever notice, Eeteh says to me one day, how making a world always begins with loneliness? The Great Spirits could invent all the suns and moons and rivers and forests they wanted, but it was never enough. They was still lonely."
"Stuff! I don't know what else humans is GOOD for, Huck"
"A hundred years from now, you and me'll both be dead and forgot and people'll still be killing each other. This is OUR killing time."
"I worked out a long time ago that, no matter what you do or think, you DIE and it's all wiped away. You brain rots and your thoughts, wants, loves, hates, simply aint no more. Others may borrow your thoughts, but you won't know that, you're gone like you never was. What we got is NOW, Huck, and now is forever. Until it ain't. So you can't worry over nothing excepting putting off the end a your story as long as you can, and finishing it with a bang."
"We got to still with our own tribe, even if they ARE all lunatics. If we don't, we'll end up crazier'n any of them."
Huck, EVERYTHING'S a hanging offense. Being ALIVE is. Only thing that matters is who's doing the hanging and who's being hung."
"I do believe it, but I'm prepared to change my mind if it ain't true, or if it's true, but inconvenient."
11 of 17 people found this review helpful
I would recommend this book to any lover of fiction and the great west and outdoors, incredible reader only stumbled on his words once in like 9 hours. My first audiobook and I gobbled it up in 2 days. Very pleased with what I got.