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Percival Everett on James, his subversive reimagining of Huckleberry Finn

11 April 2024

James—the new novel by Percival Everett—retells, reframes, and reimagines Mark Twain’s HUCKLEBERRY FINN from the perspective of Jim, the black man whose flight from slavery quickly entangles with the journey of Huck, on the run after faking his own death to escape his violent father. James gives us the events of Twain’s picaresque from a vital new standpoint—opening up previously unexplored plains of character consciousness as it does so—expanding and subverting the original story. And the novel doesn’t just fill in the blanks about Jim’s movements when our protagonists are separated, but also wrests the narrative arc itself in new and astonishing directions.

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