Huck Out West

by Robert Coover

What reviewers are saying:

“In Huck Out West, Robert Coover brilliantly (and outrageously) revives Mark Twain’s cardinal character by way of deconstructing any number of our cherished myths.  Coover is in fine antic form here–truly, Huck never had it so good.”

— T.C. Boyle


“A giant stands on the shoulders of a giant, and the view is large and giddying. In its vibrant skylarking and in its yearning undertow, this disenchanted enchantment throws new light on Twain’s America — and on Robert Coover’s.”

— Garth Risk Hallberg, author of City on Fire


“In Huck Out West, one of the USA’s greatest literary geniuses conjures that nation’s most beloved fictional voice to speak of America’s origins, resurrecting its trailblazing legends with all their blood and dust and moral compromise intact. In language that combines Twain’s humour, naturalism and lucidity with the perspective and compelling insight of an unsurpassable 21st century modernist, here Robert Coover offers us an unforgettable account of that same decent, loyal and resourceful junior vagabond that we remember, but now older, wiser and standing reluctant on the brink of a new West that’s shaped by slick and enterprising visionaries like Tom Sawyer. This is an extraordinary book that feels like encountering a long lost childhood friend, and a beautifully earnest and direct work from perhaps the most formidable trickster in American letters. Anyone with an ounce of heart in their chests should read this immediately.”

— Alan Moore


Huck Out West, [is] the latest to emerge from this wild genius’s half-century outpouring of postmodernist books, stories, novellas and plays . . .. Under Coover’s hell-hot pen … this pulsating anti-epic . . . establishes Huck in exactly the place Twain himself planned to take him.”

— Ron Powers, The New York Times Book Review


“Twain’s characters are back, alive again . . .. Coover sustains that magical act of literary ventriloquism for 300 pages, preserving Twain’s raggedly, tall-tale patter spiced with the same accidental aphorisms. But Coover’s feat of transformation is ultimately more interesting than his imitation . . .. Among the many elements that Coover imitates so well is Twain’s misanthropy, his macabre sense of humor and his perpetually offended innocence. . .. Indeed, everybody seems to be growing old except Huck, who remains a voice of perplexed kindness, and Coover, who, at 84, is still a miraculously sharp writer.”

— Ron Charles, The Washington Post


“Mr. Coover has been one of the country’s leading postmodernists. But “Huck Out West” doesn’t deconstruct “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” so much as reprise it . . . as in Twain’s original, the winsome humor of Huck’s “muddytatings” lend the story a deceptive innocence.”

— Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal


“An astonishing picaresque novel, narrated by Huck himself in a voice as authentic as Twain’s original creation . . .. Huck Out West is simply splendid, raucous, ribald and rib-ticklin’. After fifty years of incredible novels, this is another one of Coover’s triumphs.”

— Sam Coale, The Providence Journal


“Ask me if I’d like to read a sequel to mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and I’ll tell you no, unless, of course, it was written by the puckish myth-puncher Robert Coover . . .. Coover’s Huck is understatedly wise, hilarious, and loveable.”

— Jeffrey Gleaves, The Paris Review (staff pick)


“A spacious-skies frontier ripsnorter that stands alone as a wildly funny, violently imaginative Western yarn with flamboyant plot turns and caustic humor Twain himself might have appreciated, if not envied . . . [a] droll yet faithful replication of Twain’s first-person narration.”



“Rowdy, funny, and brilliant . . .. It’s not necessary to remember Mark Twain’s classic to enjoy this tale . . .. It’s Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian’ narrated by the good-natured Huck . . .. Coover takes Twain’s characters and creates a worthy extension of their lives. In doing that, he creates a scathing vision of the violent Westward movement as seen through the innocent eyes of Huckleberry Finn.”

The Missourian


“As Robert Coover tells his tales, the world inhabited by Huck — and Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, Jim, Huck’s Lakota friend Eeteh and a host of other characters in this picaresque novel — is frequently downright tragic. Still, as in Mark Twain’s originals, the darkness is lightened by humorous wordplay and self-deprecating comedy . . ..

consistently entertaining.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch


“Whether it’s read as a companion to Twain’s iconic novel or as a standalone work, Huck Out West is a robust and revealing portrait of the American frontier in a time of dramatic and often wrenching transition.”



“A near-masterpiece. It’s pitch-perfect and laceratingly funny but also a surprisingly tender, touching paean to the power of storytelling and the pains of growing up.”

Booklist (starred review)


“This latest from Coover, one of the most prolific remixers of America’s tall tales, fables, and myths, is both a tribute and a fitting postscript to Mark Twain’s canonical work . . .. With the humor and wit of Twain, Coover punctures the American myth of Manifest Destiny and the fantastical tales we create to avoid understanding and empathy.”

Library Journal (starred review)


“With gusto and a rollicking plot, Coover tackles the daunting task of crafting a sequel to a Mark Twain classic . . .. A lively and fast-paced encore for a beloved American hero.”

Publishers Weekly


“Coover has something more than satire on his mind. Rather, he is out to deconstruct not a genre but American literary iconography . . .. Coover effectively mirrors Twain’s style and Huck’s voice as well as the peripatetic movement of the original. More to the point, though, he is after consideration, or critique, of the narrative of westward expansion . . .. This novel reminds us that the more things change, the more they stay the same.”


Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Pub Date: January 10, 2017
308 pages. $26.95
ISBN: 978-0393608441
Available: (hardback & Kindle) and most indie booksellers

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *