Thursday, August 01, 2013

Fin@L(ad)y: A Novel


I've not (yet) read -- or even (so far) ordered -- the above novel by Cathleen Shine, but I found intriguing the review by Christopher Benfey, "It Takes the Village" (New York Times, July 26, 2013), for it says:
"A boy in a world of selfish, crazy, violent, colorful adults" -- that's how precocious Fin Hadley describes "Treasure Island" and "Manchild in the Promised Land," two books he happens to be reading in "Fin @ Lady," Cathleen Schine's bittersweet elegy for Greenwich Village in the 1960s. It's also a pretty good characterization of Schine's vivid comic novel itself, and of the unconventional adventures that Fin (no relation, we are specifically told, to Huck) finds himself living.
Most intriguing is that paragraph's end, which tells us that the author tells us "Fin" is not "Finn." Where do we find the author's words? At the end of the novel itself:
. . . a man named Fin? Named on a whim? Not even Huckleberry Finn, but French for 'the end.'
But that's not the end, actually, merely the penultimate paragraph, for the end is this:
But it wasn't the end at all, was it?
When an author goes to this much trouble to direct the reader's attention away from Huckleberry Finn, there's something fishy going on, and you just know you've got to look at the Huck Finn angle a bit more closely. Here's how Huck's adventures end:
But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.
Finn's adventures don't end at all. Nor do Fin's. Maybe he follows him this way . . .

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At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious as to why the use of an "@" sign in the blog heading, when the title on the book cover has an "&" in it? Some copy and paste translation issue, or something else?


At 5:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Blogger won't display the ampersand -- the symbol gets read as code.

Jeffery Hodges

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