New York Independent [unsigned]
1872: 11 April

Mark Twain's new volume, Roughing It, is also in part tropical in its subject. Among its most entertaining chapters are those which describe the author's visit to the Hawaiian Islands--chapters which, first published as letters to a California newspaper, are here gathered up, with some excisions, in a permanent form. In this work Mr. Clemens has produced one of his more readable volumes. The fact that he had written much of it before reaching its present fame as a humorist is in its favor. Thackeray said of his earlier efforts: "It makes me laugh when I think of the old days, and how much better I wrote for them then, and got a shilling where I now get ten." We only wish that Mr. Clemens had made fewer alterations than he has made in those rollicking, often ludicrous descriptions, the Sacramento Union letters here reprinted. As it is, we can imagine the despair with which the less intuitive reader will struggle to separate the nonsense from the sense, the fact from the fiction, the portraiture from the exaggerations of these pages. Mark Twain's humor is in this respect peculiarly and purposely tantalizing, though not, therefore, less enjoyable. The sketches of Western life are equally amusing. We may remark, too, that his fun is not dependent upon bad spelling or bad grammar. He writes good English, and we can commend the book to all who enjoy the wild Western drollery of which Mark Twain is the ablest living master. As a remarkably full repository of Western slang this work has a literary interest which will give it a permanent value to the student of Americanisms.

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