Sanfrancisco Alta California [unsigned]
1885: March 24

Mark Twain's latest additiion to so-called humorous literature has been probably the best advertised book of the present age, through publication of extracts in magazines, dissensions among publishers and threatened injunctions from the author against enterprising firms, who have desired to forestall the firm in which Mark Twain is interested, in the publication of the book. As a self-advertiser, Mark Twain has become more of a success than as a humorist, as is shown by the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The experiences narrated in the book are supposed to have occurred on the Mississippi River some forty to fifty years ago, and the chief interest attached to the work is found in the descriptions of that river, on which Mark Twain is supposed to have served an apprenticeship on a steamboat. As to the general character of the book, the author's introductory notice will be a hint, as follows: "All persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it, will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot." The book contains some clever descriptions of Mississippi river life, that are written in Mark Twain's best style and full of genuine humor, but much of the book shows evidence of great disposition to prolong the agony, or story, while the author often lays himself open to the charge of bad taste, if not coarseness. While the manners and customs of the Mississippi river people at that period may have been crude and peculiar to other sections, there is a manifest tendency to exaggeration, for the sake of ridicule, that satiates the average reader, and when forced humor is prolonged through 350 pages it becomes wearisome and monotonous. The illustrations are cleverly executed, and the book is gotten up in good style.

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