GAN Quest: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

“Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.”

🙂 🙂 🙂

At the end of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, we left Huck Finn, now comfortably well-off, being ‘sivilised’ by the Widow Douglas. But when Huck’s Pap comes back, wanting to get his hands on Huck’s new-found wealth, Huck finds himself at his father’s mercy, locked up in their shanty and subjected to beatings. So he hatches a plan to escape. Meantime, Miss Watson’s slave Jim has decided to run away because he’s overheard Miss Watson say she’s going to sell him down to Orleans. When the two meet up they decide to throw in their lots with each other and set off down the Mississippi on a raft. This is the story of their adventures. (Please note there are some spoilers in this review on the basis that almost everyone will already know the story.)

“A harem’s a bo’d’n-house, I rek’n. Mos’ likely dey has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck’n de wives quarrels considable; en dat ‘crease de racket. Yit dey say Sollermun de wises’ man dat ever live’. I doan’ take no stock in dat. Bekase why would a wise man want to live in de mids er sich a blim-blammin’ all de time? No – ‘deed he wouldn’t. A wise man ‘ud take en buil’ a biler-factory; en den he could shet DOWN de biler-factory when he want to res’.”

There was always going to come a point at least once in the Great American Novel Quest when I would hit a book that didn’t seem to me to live up to its reputation. Sadly, this is that book. I’m quite sure that if I had read it not knowing of its status, it would never have occurred to me to rank this as anything more than a fairly enjoyable adventure yarn – showing its age, certainly, but with a fair amount of satirical humour.

However, even reviewing it as an adventure, I found it compared unfavourably to its predecessor. The few chapters at the beginning are pretty much a reprise of Tom Sawyer, with the gang again getting together to play at being robbers, and much of the humour here is simply a repeat of the first novel. The next section – Huck’s cruel treatment at the hands of his father – is treated so lightly that it didn’t generate any real emotion in me; and Huck’s pretence at having being murdered in order to escape is again very similar to what happened in the previous book.


Once Jim and Huck get together, the story improves greatly for a while and the first section of their journey is the best bit of the book, as we see these two unlikely companions begin to form bonds of affection and loyalty. It’s here that Twain shows most clearly through Huck’s narration the acceptance of slavery as an almost unthinking norm in the society he’s portraying, and we get brief flashes of Jim as a real person when he tells about how he will be separated from his wife and children if he’s sold.

Then unfortunately the two con-artists – the Duke and the King – come on the scene and from there on the whole thing seems to lose any narrative drive. To be honest, while at first it seemed clear that Huck and Finn were heading north to the free States, after this mid-way point I had no clear idea what their plan was, if they had one. The book, like the raft, seems to drift aimlessly as we are given little humorous set-pieces at each of the towns they visit. But not humorous enough, I’m afraid, to compensate for the repetitiveness of the section nor for the overdrawn caricatures of these two characters.


“Well, some of the best authorities has done it. They couldn’t get the chain off, so they just cut their hand off and shoved. And a leg would be better still. But we got to let that go. There ain’t necessity enough in this case; and, besides, Jim’s a nigger, and wouldn’t understand the reasons for it, and how it’s the custom in Europe; so we’ll let it go.”

When Tom finally re-appears, the story picks up for a bit as he and Huck each take on false identities to fool Tom’s unsuspecting aunt. But then we get to the long-drawn out and frankly tedious final section where, instead of rescuing Jim, Tom goes off into another of his fantasies and stretches the whole thing out to an extent where I found I was beginning to skim whole chapters in a desperate bid to get to the end.

So as a novel, I’m afraid this would rate no more than 3 stars for me.

* * * * * * * * *

Trying to look at it a bit more deeply as a contender for Great American Novel status, the two things that are most often mentioned are the innovative use of dialect and the satirical look at attitudes towards slavery. Certainly, the dialect is done wonderfully well – Twain never misses a beat, and makes each voice not only distinct, but an unmistakeable indicator of the different class each character occupies. So Tom’s voice clearly shows he’s of a better class and level of education than Huck, while Jim and the other slaves share a dialect all of their own – a dialect that is recognisable from most of the early Hollywood films portraying slavery, such as Gone With the Wind. This made me wonder if the dialect was authentic, or a Twain creation that influenced later culture. Either way, it’s a virtuoso performance from Twain and certainly raises the artistic level of the novel. (Honestly, though, I found it irritating after a while – frequently having to re-read Jim’s dialogue to catch the meaning. Perhaps that’s my Britishness showing through.)


I found the slavery question more complex, oddly because Twain makes it seem so simple. He makes the tolerance of slavery a universal thing, accepted unquestioningly by everyone in the novel. I found this unconvincing – the book is set only a couple of decades before the Civil War, and surely there would have been more shades of grey over it, even in the South, by that period? Also, although he shows the basic inhumanity and emotional cruelty of one man owning another, somehow he also shows the owners as fundamentally good-natured and mostly quite kind to the slaves. I’m sure that was also true of some owners, but I’m equally sure there was a lot more physical cruelty and abuse than this novel suggests. It all seemed strangely sanitised, especially since the point was presumably to show the plain wrongness of the practice. And, while there’s no doubt every character in the book regardless of colour is displayed as, shall we say, intellectually challenged, the slaves really do come off as almost terminally stupid. It felt almost as if Twain was really highlighting something more akin to animal cruelty than endorsing any suggestion of true equality between the races, and as a result left me feeling quite uncomfortable. I really, really wanted Jim to tell Tom and Huck to grow up and stop messing him about, rather than to continue metaphorically wagging his tail at his masters, as he did even once he discovered that he had been a free man while Tom was indulging his own selfishness.

Hmm…I’m guessing you can tell I wasn’t convinced by this one…

Great American Novel Quest

So…how does it fare in The Great American Novel Quest? To win that title it needs to achieve all five of the criteria in my original post…

Must be written by an American author or an author who has lived long enough in the US to assimilate the culture.

us flagAchieved.

The theme must shed light on a specific and important aspect of American culture and society of the time of its writing.

us flagBearing in mind when the book was written, and that the audience for it therefore didn’t share today’s sensibilities regarding race and equality, I’m assuming that the book perhaps did shed light on the evils of slavery for its contemporary readers, at a time when the post-war society wasn’t living up to the expectations of the proponents of the war. To be honest, I’m basing this assumption more on the book’s reputation than on anything I found in the text though. So, somewhat grudgingly – achieved.

It must be innovative and original in theme.

us flagYes, I think the theme most definitely meets the originality test and there’s no doubt the use of dialect was innovative, so – achieved.

Must be superbly written.

white_flagOh dear – I feel I’m going to offend most of America here and quite probably the rest of the world too but…no, I didn’t find this superbly written. The dialect, while hugely skilful, detracted on the whole from my enjoyment; and the plot was too straggly and unfocussed, particularly the several chapters at the end. The humour and satire simply weren’t enough to carry it. So…not achieved.

Must capture the entire ‘American experience’.

white_flagI think this is arguable. While the book concentrated very much on the South, and was of course historical even at the time of writing, it was clearly written with reference to issues in the contemporary society. It seemed to me that Twain saw the issue of equality as one for the whole of the US and in that sense, it addresses the entire ‘American experience’. But does it capture it? I’m conflicted – but on the whole no, I’m not wholly convinced by Twain’s portrayal of this society so…not achieved.

* * * * * * * * *

So, donning my hard hat and cowering behind the settee, I hereby declare that not only is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn not The Great American Novel, but for only achieving 3 GAN flags and 3 stars, it isn’t even A Great American Novel.

Please don’t hate me! Instead, convince me that I’m wrong…

60 thoughts on “GAN Quest: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

  1. I think that is a good evaluation of Huck’s story. He hadn’t a chance against that rascally but warm-hearted Tom Sawyer. It’s on the banned books list in our libraries due to the N word. But, there are better American novels, great or not.

    One of the problems with this book is that the author seems to have forgotten to let the characters tell the story and seems to be incapable of taking his hands off the reins to let them free. Had he allowed Huck to hold them, it might have been a tolerable story. Perhaps Clemmons was too close to the issues to write about this. I think he was just trying too hard.

    And, of course, as I’ve said before Americans have issues with leaving the reader space to reflect.


    • Yes, I don’t think I agree with the banning, although I’ve personally banned books from my own shelves for use of that word before. But in this case it’s appropriate to the time – it would be like sanitising Chaucer or Shakespeare (which of course they do too!). But the word isn’t used offensively as an insult in this book – it’s just an accepted description at that time. Given that every rap song contains that word and equally offensive sexist terms, I think there’s a bit of double-standards at work…

      I felt maybe he had to get out a certain number of words to meet publisher requirements or something, because an awful lot of it felt like pure padding…especially the dozen or so chapters at the end.


      • Yes, “bowdlerizing” happens. Chaucer made me laugh so much. And Shakespeare likewise. That young people do not understand the language is a problem of the education system. I taught in a private school where every year they do a Shakespeare play. The students knew what was going on, and understood the humor.

        That makes sense…that he had a word count to meet. It definitely went on past the end.


  2. I haven’t read this since I was about eight, but even then I found it a terrible let-down after “Tom Sawyer” which I really liked and read until the book (a hardback even!) fell apart. I also read “a Connecticut Yankee” as a child and didn’t like it much – I was a bit of an Arthurian legends nut and this didn’t ring true. So if I was choosing a Twain For the GANQ, I would pick TS. Good (and brave)review – hope you survive the outcry from our American friends.


    • Yes, I didn’t enjoy it as much as ‘Tom Sawyer’ as a child either, but was hoping it might work better as an adult book. But I’m afraid the re-read confirmed rather than changed my childhood impressions. I’ve never read ‘Connecticut Yankee’ but fear the Professor will wear me down eventually! However I enjoyed ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ while laughing at the historical ridiculousness of it, so I might be able to cope with King Arthur’s court…


  3. Whispers : Please don’t tell our American friends but i can’t get on with Twain. I can see he was a frightfully good egg; but still. Maybe its the combination of written a long time ago, a different style of writing, AND the cultural difference as well (though i happily read European authors of the time) but I find myself twitchy and distracted. I have Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, recently bought because i thought i ought to try again – but it feels like reading for worthy punishment homework, rather than enjoyment. Some dear tried to interest me for years in A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King James, and all I could do was whimper plaintively and ask could I do something else.

    He (Twain) hasn’t been invited to the party


  4. I like your review. HF is on my list of ten great american novels. And I think
    I defend that by saying that Twain wrote the unthinkable–a white boy and a
    black man going down a river on a raft as companions. That nugget of plot
    was a game-changer in literature. Yes, maybe the rest was fluff—but it
    served to get the story told. (My humble opinion) You are a brave lady to
    throw out this challenge—be strong–have chocolate ready.


    • Yes, you’re right that it was a brave plot to write and the use of the dialect must have raised a lot of eyebrows at the time too. So in that sense, great in the effect it had on literature, but just not enough (IMO) to make it a great novel in itself. And for GAN status it must be first and foremost a great novel…

      Thanks…and I always have chocolate ready… 😉


  5. Haha! Oh dear… What can the professor say against such hate? *smiles and maybe winks*

    I get bogged down, too, trying to understand Jim at times. It’s rather vexing. But I also remember laughing a lot. (However, I did have trouble re-reading the novel.)

    You must read Yankee next–or IA. Not Wilson! (Don’t listen to BUS.)


    • Phew! At least you’re still talking to me! And I was much kinder than you are to Ms Austen, wasn’t I?

      I felt a bit mean about the dialect, since earlier this week I was trying to persuade everyone to read old Scots, but I did find it slowed me down and I had to keep reading it out loud to make full sense of it – much to the cats’ befuddlement. I laughed at parts, but not nearly as much as I did at TS or The P & The P. Maybe I read this one too soon after TS…

      It will be IA next – give his non-fiction a chance to win me back round – but not for a while… (I feel sorry for myself – caught between the Prof and BUS. Too scary! I think I’ll need to get my own katana…)


      • No, you weren’t, madam! You said the writing was bad. (I’m sweet to Austen. I hate doing it, but it’s my duty.)

        See, I like that sort of thing. Old Scots, too. I enjoy hearing it in my head. And I always figured Twain was a master at it. And he is. But it is hard to understand at times!

        You should! Maybe I’ll send you one… But seriously! One un-liked book can’t ruin a fellow! Austen has books you hate! Doesn’t she? I hope…


        • I did not!! I said the plotting was bad…and the characterisation…and it wasn’t as funny as TS…and it went on too long…but otherwise I loved it!! (We may have to beat each other over the head with each other’s femurs…tricky!)

          Yes, I like dialect too generally speaking, but there was just so much of it – which wouldn’t have been a problem if I hadn’t been struggling to understand it. But that was my fault rather than Twain’s – I agree he’s a master at it.

          No, no it hasn’t ruined him! There will just be a pause before I move on to the next one. And I didn’t totally un-like it – it just wasn’t…great. I’m afraid I don’t hate any of Jane’s books – I like them all and love at least three of them. Sorry!!


          • Good noodles! What a long list! (I wouldn’t beat FEF!)

            It can get daunting to read. If I recall correctly, there’s a lot of old speaky in Yankee. But you might have an easier time with such a thing than me.

            Which three do you love? (I had to hope…)


            • (I wouldn’t beat C-W-W either…we’ll need to find another way to settle the dispute. Dancing contest?)

              An awful lot of Yankee-speaky, which would be a strange language even if it was spelled correctly…

              P&P (bet that surprised you!) S&S and Northanger Abbey. But even I admit Northanger Abbey is a tiny, tiny bit chick-litty… *gulps*


            • (When I was 13, I got beaten at chess by a 10-year-old boy…in 4 moves! So no!)

              Tchah! English? No wonder it’s incomprehensible then!

              No, they are not…and if you’re not careful I’ll add them all to your TBR…


            • (Hahaha! FEF! You need to work at this. I actually played in a club for some time. Was somewhat good. Then I didn’t touch it for years. Now I’m the worst ever. We should play a match. I’m sure it would be such hilarious fun.)

              So mean! And what’s his face…the Braveheart dude was English.

              You can’t do that!


            • (I was in the school chess club at the time of my humiliation – not because I wanted to play chess, but because my bestest friend ‘fancied’ one of the boys on the chess team. What a martyr I was! Fortunately, as is the way of these things, it was a passing fad – she soon fell in love with a member of the football team – phew!

              But interestingly they often say that musicians make good chess players…and mathematicians. Is the Professor good at maths?)

              William Wallace was NOT ENGLISH!!!!!! Say that again and Scotland may have to declare war on the Punchy Lands!!!!!!!



            • (Hahaha! Girls are always falling in love. I do hope you slapped the boy who beat you in Chess, though.)

              Umm…actually probably, yes. I loved Physics. Might have done it for a career actually.

              Well, he has a funny name, then. I don’t want war. What would I do? I’d have to get my chariot out.

              But it’s not fair!


            • (Falling in love is fun! No, I gathered the torn shreds of my dignity around me and congratulated him generously. Then I went outside and screamed…)

              Then you could have become an astronaut! Or hung about with Michio Kaku!

              Your chariot wouldn’t save you from the howling Highland hordes…

              But it is amusing… *wicked face*


            • (It is!)

              Why? The career you’ve chosen means you get to hang out with Schwarzy, which is much better…

              I just find that hard to believe – we really don’t get the weather for running about naked!


            • (It makes your skin glow – try it!)

              And that’s a bad thing because…?

              It rained here. Just like today. And tomorrow. *smiled damply*


            • (Gulp. I don’t like the sound of it…)

              Well…it’s not really. But people poke fun and things. It’s tough that way.

              Aw! Well, it’s raining here all the time. I live in a very rainy and cloudy climate as well.


  6. FictionFan – Twain is one of those authors about whom few people are neutral. I agree completely about his expert use of dialogue and wit. And the ‘adventure’ aspect of this novel is, as you say, quite good. But he had plenty of detractors too. Louisa May Alcott for instance said:
    ‘f Mr. Clemens cannot think of something better to tell our pure-minded lads and lasses,” … ‘he had best stop writing for them.’
    You really chose a fascinating book here.


    • As an adult, I almost find myself agreeing with Alcott at times – though as a child I loved Tom Sawyer and don’t think it had too detrimental an effect on my character! But on the whole I think we adults underestimate children’s ability to differentiate between real life and fiction and tend to mollycoddle them too much these days.

      I’ve enjoyed most of the Twain I’ve read recently a lot – I think that added to my disappointment with this one. The dread word ‘padding’ springs to mind…but I’m still glad to have read it again as an adult. I don’t think you can seriously ‘do’ American literature without this book…


  7. Strangely enough, I’ve never been inspired to read these two books written by Twain. I’ve read a few of his short stories, and I enjoy his satire, but I guess I missed the boat on these two.

    I’ve also enjoyed Hal Holbrook’s performance of Twain (that I saw in the late 70’s). I think he’s still performing as Twain:


    • I enjoyed Tom Sawyer a lot – it was much better constructed and funnier. This one is the better book in the sense of being about a more serious subject, but not nearly as entertaining – for me, anyway.

      Haha! Enjoyed the vid – thanks! I take it these were all things that Twain himself said? I recognised the ‘Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to’ quote, but the rest was new to me.


      • Holbrook supposedly researched the daylights out of Twain while writing his one-man show. So I believe these were all things he said.

        I still can’t find it in me to read TS. There are just too many other things higher on my priority list. Maybe when I “retire.”


  8. I agree with your evaluation. Of course it has been decades since I read this. I did *enjoy* it, but Twain is not my favorite author. However, it is definitely a work which is an icon of American literature — and perhaps reflective of its time. I also remember finding his writing a bit distracting. I do think Twain was simply trying to reflect the dialect of the time. I think he was masterful at that, but it would not be my first choice in reading! What I remember most about Twain was the *feeling* of the South — I remember being immersed in the setting. Of course, part of that was his writing! Again, I make no sense. But what is new?!


    • Yes, it’s always difficult to know how a book would have come over at the time it was written and it’s too easy for us to cast our modern-day sensibilities over a classic…but I still felt that the book would have been too straggly even at the time. The dialect was wonderfully done, and I feel I’m being unfair by saying it annoyed me – it’s not Twain’s fault I struggled to understand it – both time and place are at the root of that. I agree about the Southern ‘feeling’ – though for me that came over more strongly in Tom Sawyer, or at least, more convincingly.

      Haha! I thought you made perfect sense – and thanks for joining in the discussion. It’s good to know I haven’t offended the whole of America! 😉


  9. I would definitely agree with your review, and I would suggest that if you’re looking for a GAN that deals with the South and the issue of slavery in a way that is actually challenging and truly changed the way society viewed the topic, read Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ which is actually a brilliant and underrated book. The story is strong, the characters well-drawn, the writing excellent, and the overall message is brilliant. At the time of its publishing, the book challenged the thinking of an entire generation. I think that you would find that the writing of such a rampant abolitionist like Stowe treated the concept of slavery, and the humanity of slaves, in a way that was surprisingly forward-thinking for her time, and definitely more humanizing than Twain’s. She just does a wonderful job of having good and bad while people and good and bad black people, emphasizing the concept that people are people and some are good and some are bad and neither is inherent in color. And while she portrays some slaves as living in comfortable homes with masters who treat them well, her ability to make those same slaves completely human only emphasizes the incredibly dehumanizing affect of slavery.

    Anyway, I’ve never been a fan of Twain’s tales of south (like you, I’ve enjoyed ‘Prince and the Pauper’ and also ‘Connecticut Yankee’), and am frequently puzzled over accolades ‘Huckleberry Finn’ receives.


    • You know, I was surprised at the beginning of the GAN quest that nobody recommended Uncle Tom. I’ll definitely add it to the list – thanks! I did read it as a child, but really I was too young to understand it properly and my memory of it is extremely hazy – almost non-existent in fact. So it’ll really be like reading it for the first time.

      Yes, I must say I was surprised at my reaction to Huck Finn given its reputation, and really thought I must be missing something, maybe because I’m a Brit. So I’ve been just as surprised that the majority of people who’ve commented have felt much the same way about it as I did. It must be one of these novels you either just ‘get’ or you don’t – and I don’t. I much preferred Tom Sawyer – I thought it was a better book in pretty much every way. Ah well, books are always going to be mainly subjective and that’s what makes them fun to discuss…


  10. A great view of Huckleberry Finn as far as this reader is concerned. I didn’t like this one as a child and so have no desire to revisit it now. I read Tom Sawyer and enjoyed that one too. I do like your evaluation of these Great American Novel and I’m glad it isn’t even a ‘Great Novel’ 😉


    • Thanks, Cleo! I was really expecting to be hit with loads of people defending this book, but so far most people have been saying they felt much the same about it. I’m enjoying the GAN Quest, I must admit – it’s forcing me to read lots of things I feel I should have read years ago, and forcing me to think about them a bit more deeply than I maybe would normally…


  11. Great review for the GAN quest! Im grateful for your honesty as I too am not a huge fan of this book and have actually never made it to the end… 😉 After reading this and some of the comments I got to thinking about what it means to redefine our ‘classics’. Huck Finn obviously had a profound impact at the time for its themes etc. but today is hardly as mindblowing. I think its a great challenge to reevaluate our classics to see what has staying power and how far we’ve come.


    • Thanks, Verity! 🙂 Yes, it’s funny how some books survive and others just date so badly as to be unreadable. I guess it’s maybe to do with the emphasis on character as opposed to plot – but having said that, Dickens’ plots are pretty dated but still seem relevant. I think sometimes ‘innovative’ novels are the ones that date worst – they have a kind of shock value that wears off after a while. I think that might be what has happened to Huck Finn – I’m sure I’d have reacted differently to it at the time. Whereas novels that use traditional forms and language are maybe more timeless…


  12. Oh, dear. The rambling plot is a verity, including most especially the entrance of the King and the Duke and their failure to exit more promptly. And the dialect is difficult to read, but accurate.

    But I’ve always felt the reason why all American literature begins with this book, as Hemingway famously said, is that it broke the mold. It went right after slavery, not with realism but with knife-edged satire, skewering every segment of American society because they all so richly deserved it. And it showed generations of Americans why it is they should follow their hearts, and not their preachy heads, in the matter of discerning right from wrong. That, to me, is what Huck learns on his voyage with Jim, and he couldn’t have learned it from any white American depicted anywhere in the novel.

    I also have an apology to make. I failed to point you in the direction of the best version of this mass-produced novel. The University of California Press published most of it about 25 years ago, with the text their scholarly research team at the Mark Twain Project deemed the most authentic and least-mangled by editors. And, in what I think is the most important aspect of this, they published it with all the original illustrations. These were done by one of the best political cartoonists of the day, E.W. Kemble, at Twain’s insistence, and they are biting, aggressively damning. Most versions published in the many years between the original publication and that re-publication by the MTP either had the illustrations done by a Norman Rockwell type–putting a warm and humorous face on all the scenes–or left out illustrations altogether. But the UC Press / Mark Twain Project version of the book, with those illustrations, which was eventually was updated in 2003 or so with “the lost hundred pages” found in 1993 or so (you can’t wait to read another hundred, right?) is worth finding for anyone who’s undertaking their own Mark Twain project, i.e., reading Huck Finn. The best I’ve been able to find on the web on all this is in these two links:

    To see the several versions published by the MTP over the years:

    A link on Amazon to one of these HF editions is:


    • Haha! So glad to hear from you, Matt – I thought I might have driven you away in disgust! I really do see how innovative the book must have been in its time and admire what Twain did with both the dialect and the subject matter. But…but…I just didn’t find it a very good book for all that. It was mainly the Duke and the King, both of whom would have been vastly improved by drowning, and then that dreadful over-stretched ending, where I found I really rather wanted to drown Tom too! Oh dear! The good thing is I suspect the book’s reputation is strong enough to survive my criticism… 😉

      Thanks for the links – it’s good to see quality hardbacks are still being produced in the digital age. I read it in the Delphi Classics Kindle edition – they’re great for collected works and tend to include a whole variety of illustrations. Unfortunately they’re not quite so good at telling who the illustrations are by, but I think they used some of the Kemble ones, amongst other later ones. Of course, though, illustrations don’t work quite as well on the Kindle as in a proper book. It’s interesting how important illustrations were to books in that period – something we seem to have lost in most modern literature, and yet something that adds so much to the reading pleasure when done well.

      Another hundred pages, though? Gosh, what…fun! I think I’ll save that treat for a special day. 😉 Meantime, next up – McCarthy’s ‘The Road’…


  13. I’m ashamed, but I have never read any Mark Twain -there I said it. I once read that Hemingway and Twain were Americas answer to England’s Dickens. I also read that Catcher in The Rye was the GAN so I after looking at these three authors books, i chose the smallest -J.D Salinger won. Are you going to review this in your GAN quest, i would love to hear what you thought.


    • Haha! I really hadn’t read any except Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn when I was a kid – until recently, when a manic Twain fan started pushing me… (between you and me, and don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think he’s even close to Dickens! 😉 ) I haven’t read Hemingway either – the reason for the GAN Quest is because I’m woefully ignorant of American fiction.

      Catcher in the Rye is on the list (another one I’ve never read) but it’ll be a while before I get to it – loads of interesting ones coming up though. Thanks for commenting and I hope you’ll stick around for the journey! 😀


  14. Fascinating!!! And in case you were curious- the fact that you have to reread all of Jim’s lines does not mean that your Britishness is showing through. No one can get those without having to squint and read portions aloud. I’m not sure if you ever read the Redwall books, but I consider Jim’s dialect on roughly the same level as the language of the moles. Part of me dies inside whenever I see a long portion of dialogue from either one.


    • Haha! I must admit dialogue tends to have that effect on me too! Though I felt a bit mean since I’d just been trying to persuade everyone to tackle some of Robert Louis Stevenson’s old Scots dialect. I did end up having to read quite a lot of Jim’s stuff out loud before I could get a real sense of it – though I must admit Southern slave dialect read aloud in a Glaswegian accent sounded a little strange… 😉


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