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Darryl Brock <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 6 Jan 2010 14:30:03 -0800
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Shelley Fisher Fishkin listed my first novel, If I Never Get Back, among
those she discussed in Lighting Out for the Territory.  In that work she
pointed out that I have Twain pitching a risky & illegal get-rich scheme
(involving grave robbing) that would have been most unlikely in the year
1869, when he was courting Livy and attempting to win her family's
favor.  Shelley was right, of course, but then almost everything in the
story (a time-travel piece) is relatively unlikely--as is certainly true
of Twain's own time-travel entertainments.  I enjoyed developing Twain
not in his familiar ice-cream suit persona but as a less fully formed
public figure, young and sometimes lonely and passionately in love with
a coal magnate's fair daughter.  In Two in the Field (1998), a sequel,
Twain again appears, this time in the year 1875, and we visit him in his
grand new Hartford mansion, dine with his family, and witness him in his
full domestic glory.  Now I've done it again:  Next month St. Martin's
will release a new anthology, Sherlock Holmes: The American Years, in
which I have a story with Twain serving as my narrator.  I originally
projected Twain for a minor cameo role in that first novel.  Needless to
say, he continues to enlarge his part.

Darryl Brock