Friday, February 25, 2011

A Nice Comparison

Barry Blitt's new book, The Adventures of Mark Twain, by Huckleberry Finn, a hysterically clever concept, is out now and getting good reviews. Barry was kind enough to forward me this review, which mentioned my work in an insanely flattering manner.

Hot on the heels of Susy Clemens, in Barbara Kerley’s The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy), comes a rival Mark Twain child biographer, of sorts—Huckleberry Finn himself. With Burleigh’s, ahem, editorial assistance, Huck recreates his creator, one might say, in his own homespun voice: “Sam tried soldierin’. But it didn’t take. There wasn’t much sand in his craw for killin’ people. And . . . he was very unfavorable to bein’ killed hisself.” Huck not only effectively and wittily conveys the basics of his literary father’s life, but he also displays an excellent grasp of the critiques addressed to Twain’s work by both contemporaries and later generations: “Before I came along, most folks wouldn’t pay no attention to a story ’bout a no-account boy. . . . And they wouldn’t like that my words ain’t always presented in the King’s English.” Huck is assisted in his authorial debut by Barry Blitt, whose spidery line-and-watercolor paintings echo the fluid ink work of Robert Andrew Parker and the spot-on caricature of John Hendrix. Our “author” admits he “left a lot out,” but he slyly puts responsibility for any of his work’s shortcomings on Twain himself: “I coulda throwed more style into it, but I can’t do that very handy, not being brought up to it.” Fortunately, his editor supplies additional data in an appended note, and as to style—well, I reckon most kids’ll think he done just fine.

I owe so much to Mr. Blitt in my work that it is almost embarrassing to read a review comparing his work to mine, but regardless, a very rich compliment. 

1 comment:

DB Dowd said...

The comparison to Robert Andrew Parker may be the more resonant, though I certainly see the connection to Blitt. Each has a compelling way of (seeming to) work without a net, though RAP truly did/does, with a crazy bravery, even insouciance. Nice freaking company, in both cases. Congrats, Mr. HDX (in case you were thinking of becoming an airport).