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Hauser, Thomas

ISBN 10: 1569801541 / ISBN 13: 9781569801543
Published by New York: Barricade Books, 1999. dj, 1999
From Bookfever, IOBA (Volk & Iiams) (Ione, CA, U.S.A.)

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Hardcover first edition - First printing. A meticulously researched novel set in 1910 with Mark Twain on his deathbed and reflecting back a 6 week period in 1856 that changed his life. While fiction, the author has commingled Twain's words and ideas with his own. Fine in fine dust jacket (appears unread.). Bookseller Inventory # 18615

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: New York: Barricade Books, 1999. dj

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Veteran novelist (The Hawthorne Group) and biographer (Muhammad Ali and Company) Hauser has "commingled Mark Twain's words and ideas of my own" in this witty, elegiac novel. When it opens in 1910, Twain, believing his death is near, remembers a chain of events that changed his life. In the spring of 1856, 20-year-old Samuel Langhorne Clemens surveys his spotty work history, and decides to travel. Aiming for California, he makes his way to Saint Joseph, Mo., where he boards an overland stage. After two days, he stops at a small town, where he first encounters Hiram Kane, an enterprising freed slave who's promoting an act where, for a nickel, white men can punch Bones, a "nigger" who's guaranteed not to hit back. Kane's cruel character leaves a strong impression on Twain, who is "part fascinated and part revulsed." Low on money, Twain decides to stay awhile in his next stop, a friendly town in northwestern Kansas. Soon he is aware that "Bleeding Kansas" is abroil with the question of slavery. Meeting Kane again, Twain learns the hard way that Bones is a skilled defensive fighter. Twain wins ownership of Bones in a poker game and wants to free him, but, discovering Bones has no prospects, he sets up a deal in which Bones fights and the proceeds are split 50-50. But a passionate liaison with beautiful woman rancher, and the suspenseful discovery of her betrayal, leaves Twain fearing that he must cancel the bout. Against the odds, they go ahead with the racially charged and exciting fight. A bittersweet ending perfectly caps this swift moral adventure. Succinct history lessons contextualize the tale, and the writing is so smooth it's impossible to tell which words are Twain's and which Hauser's. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

In his first novel in eight years (The Hawthorne Group, 1991), the author of Muhammad Ali (1991) and other nonfiction draws heavily on his interest in boxing. Better known as a journalist than novelist, Hauser here creates an ostensible memoir by Mark Twain. The story opens with the 75-year-old author contemplating his own imminent death: ``This April will be my last.'' Inspired by the heavyweight championship fight between Jack Johnson and James Jeffries, Twain recalls an incident from his own youth that serves as the primary narrative. As a young man making his way west, he finds himself in Kansas just before the outset of the Civil War and becomes involved with a cynical, manipulative former-slave-turned-promoter, Hiram Kane (who bears an uncanny resemblance to real-life boxing figure Don King), and with Kanes own slave, an aging but gifted fighter known only as Bones. When young Sam Clemens cheats Kane out of his rights to Bones, the older man vows vengeance. Eventually, hell seek that revenge in a complicated scheme that plays upon young Sam's romantic streak and burgeoning hormonal drives. At the outset, Hauser warns, ``Throughout the manuscript I have commingled Mark Twain's words and ideas with my own.'' The result makes a queasy impact on the reader from the very first page. Hauser uses the benefit of a century's worth of hindsight to make his fictional Twain even more prescient than the real one. Regrettably, Hauser's Twain doesnt write as well as the original, and the novel is riddled with lengthy passages of history that read like a college textbookand with clichs that Twain would surely have eschewed. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Store Description - the name used by Volk and Iiams, Booksellers- specializes in first editions of twentieth century literature, with an emphasis on women authors, African American, Native American and Latin American authors - plus mystery & detective fiction, science fiction & fantasy, poetry and children's & illustrated books. We try to offer many uncommon books, and have a large selection of first books, and books by authors who are less frequently collected. Of the approximately 50,000 volumes in stock, the majority are hardcover first editions, although we also stock vintage science fiction paperbacks as well as sf digests and pulps. We also have a large selection of books signed by the author and uncorrected proof copies. Less than 50% of our stock is catalogued, so please inquire if you are searching for specific titles. Selling books by mail order and on the internet since 1993. We have a large booth dedicated to books (called Books Upstairs) at the Antiques Upstairs Mall, 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA. (open every day from 10-5) The emphasis there is on Western Americana, children¿s books and inexpensive reading copies. In 1998 we relocated our main business from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills of Amador County, about 35 miles east of downtown Sacramento and between Ione & Sutter Creek. There, on 10 acres of rolling oak-covered hills, we built a ¿bookhouse¿ for our books. When we are there, we welcome visitors by appointment (call 209-274-6960 or, in the US only, toll free at 1-877-bookfev or contact us by email Our web page is Traditional bookseller grading used - fine is our highest grade (an "A"), very good is above average (a "B), good is average (a "C"). All significant flaws are described; dust jackets are protected by archival covers, and books are packed carefully for shipping. We welcome questions by email or phone.

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Terms of Sale: is a partnership between Christine Volk and Eugene Iiams, Booksellers. Our mailing address is PO Box 696, Ione CA 95640 USA. Our store is located at 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA 95642 USA. Email: Phone: 209-274-6960. We accept Mastercard, Visa AMEX, Discover, checks or Paypal, whichever is most convenient for customers. Please contact us if you have any questions, or want to confirm availability. All dustjackets are in archival mylar covers, and books are packed ...

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Shipping includes insurance and/or delivery confirmation when appropriate. All dust jackets are covered with archival protectors. All books are PACKED CAREFULLY; we are also happy to gift wrap books (FREE) upon request, and to ship them with just a card. Prices shown include media mail shipping in the US and California sales tax, when required. An online bookseller since 1993, on ABE since 1997! While occasionally a book sells out, we only list books which we have in stock, and ready to ship. NOTE our low INTERNATIONAL RATES - Please do not hesitate to contact us to confirm availability or with any questions - we can be reached at or toll-free in the USA at 877*266*5338 (bookfev) or outside the US at 209*274*6960. Reciprocal terms offered to the trade on direct orders only. Libraries and other institutions may request to be invoiced.

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