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Huck Out West

A Novel

Robert Coover (Author)

Overview | Formats

“[Coover’s] pen is warmed up in hell. . . . [Huck Out West] establishes Huck in exactly the place Twain himself planned to take him. . . . [A] pulsating anti-epic.”— Ron Powers, New York Times Book Review

At the end of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, on the eve of the Civil War, Huck and Tom Sawyer decide to escape “sivilization” and “light out for the Territory.” In Robert Coover’s Huck Out West, also “wrote by Huck,” the boys do just that, riding for the famous but short-lived Pony Express, then working as scouts for both sides in the war.

They are suddenly separated when Tom decides he’d rather own civilization than leave it, returning east with his new wife, Becky Thatcher, to learn the law from her father. Huck, abandoned and “dreadful lonely,” hires himself out to “whosoever.” He rides shotgun on coaches, wrangles horses on a Chisholm Trail cattle drive, joins a gang of bandits, guides wagon trains, gets dragged into U.S. Army massacres, and eventually finds himself in the Black Hills just ahead of the 1876 Gold Rush. In the course of his adventures, he reunites with old friends and faces some hard truths and even harder choices.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming February 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35549-9
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverHuck Out West: A Novel


Endorsements & Reviews

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

“Magical....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

“An audacious and revisionary sequel to Twain’s masterpiece. It is both true to the spirit of Twain and quintessentially Cooveresque.” — Times Literary Supplement

“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.” — Newsday

“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 in Twain's original, the winsome humor of Huck's muddytatings lend the story a deceptive innocence.” — Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“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

“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.” — The Providence Journal

“An extraordinary book…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, author of Jerusalem

“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

Also by Robert Coover All

  1. Book CoverGoing For a Beer: Selected Short Fictions