The Boy in His Winter
By Norman Lock
Bellevue Literary Press
Release Date: May 13, 2014
On July 2, 1835, Huckleberry Finn and the runaway slave, Jim set out on a raft down the Mississippi River. For the next 170+ years, as the raft moves through time and events unfold onshore, Huck and Jim remain un-aged, living in a state of temporal suspension until Hurricane Katrina terminates the raft’s journey in 2005. It is an intriguing premise for a novel; but the story quickly devolves into pointless and unsatisfying memoir of of Huck’s life after leaving Hannibal, Missouri.
Norman Lock takes greats pains to divorce his Huck Finn from the character Mark Twain created by not adhering to the style, satire, language or personalities established in the American Classic; but offers the reader nothing in return. The opportunities for the characters to develop are squandered as the author keeps his Huck and Jim static and unresponsive to historic events or even to dramatic moments onshore. There is no sense that the Huckleberry Finn at the end of the novel is substantially different from the Huckleberry Finn at the beginning other than that his vocabulary has expanded.
The journey on the river and post-Katrina plot line serve only to move characters to different settings; and the descriptive prose is limited, uninspiring and fails to deliver any sense of vitality. Onshore life is relegated to the periphery while the core of the story line is an ambiguous haze of memory, ultimately an empty exchange.
Overall, this was a tediously boring and disappointing novel.
OTHER: I received an advanced reading copy of The Boy in His Winter (by Norman Lock) through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.