>I’ve had my eye on this 2007 novel which explores life from Huckleberry Finn’s drunkard father’s point of view. The alleged dark tone of Clinch’s novel fits in with my own idea of “Pap”. For years — since elementary school — I had a frightened fascination with this character.
I knew about Huck Finn from reading The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer at school. I first became aware of Pap in 1970 when I saw a 10th anniversary re-issue of The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (1960). This movie is the best of all the filmed versions of Mark Twain’s novel. It boasts an excellent cast, including a performance by Tony Randall as the scoundrel “The King of France” played with his customary wit and crispness.
Pap was menacingly played by a raspy-voiced character actor named Neville Brand (1920-1992). Although he was only onscreen for a few moments, he completely scared the crap out of me. As far as villains go, he and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty dominated my childhood nightmares.
As anyone who had read The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn knows, Pap met his end in a manner as dark, twisting and mysterious as the river upon which his body was discovered. It’s difficult to imagine that his life was any less dark, dirty and full of evil circumstance. I’m interested in seeing if Clinch was able to interpret Pap as having even the slightest glimmer of anything resembling good or light. I’m wondering if my childhood terror of this character will be reawakened by reading a novel about him.