The Boy in His Winter

192 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $14.95
ISBN: 9781934137765


ISBN: 9781934137772

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“Brilliant . . . this novel shimmers with glorious language, fluid rhythms, and complex insights. . . . The Boy in His Winter is a glorious meditation on justice, truth, loyalty, story, and the alchemical effects of love, a reminder of our capacity to be changed by the continuously evolving world ‘when it strikes fire against the mind’s flint,’ and by profoundly moving novels like this.”


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“Make[s] Huck and Jim so real you expect to get messages from them on your iPhone.”

Scott Simon, NPR Weekend Edition

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“[Lock] is one of the most interesting writers out there. This time, he re-imagines Huck Finn’s journeys, transporting the iconic character deep into America’s past—and future.”

Reader’s Digest

“Boldly reimagines Huck Finn. . . . Striking and original. . . . The premise may be an outlandish brain-twister that takes risks with a sacred American myth, but the vessel stays afloat by virtue of [Lock’s] wily ingenuity.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“To call [The Boy in His Winter] a work of fiction is to tell only part of the story. This book is as much a treatise on memory and time and the nature of storytelling and our collective national conscience . . . much of it wildly funny and extremely intelligent.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

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“Norman Lock is a master of the unusual. Cast through his inimitable creative lens, [The Boy in His Winter] is much more than a unique concept. It’s a rich, textured story that’ll leave you unsteady on your feet, as any great water adventure should.”

Slice magazine

“Lock has long been one of our country’s unsung treasures. . . . While Twain offered a panoramic skewering of his time, Lock reimagines the travels of Huck and Jim as a survey of the history and future of America. . . . Lock has made [Huck and Jim] not only fresh but new.”

Green Mountains Review

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“Hypnotic. . . .A delightful and profound journey.”


“A true American novel—in many ways as moving as Mark Twain’s original.”


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“Lock’s work mines the stuff of dreams. . . . [In The Boy in His Winter] Huck Finn and Jim set forth down the Mississippi River and journey through a century and a half of American history, to alternatingly thrilling and horrific effect.”


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“Lock plays profound tricks, with language—his is crystalline and underline-worthy—and with time, the perfect metaphor for which is the mighty Mississippi itself.”

Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)

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“Remarkable. . . . Lock writes some of the most deceptively beautiful sentences in contemporary fiction. Beneath their clarity are layers of cultural and literary references, profound questions about loyalty, race, the possibility of social progress, and the nature of truth. They merge with an iconic American character, tall tales intact, to create something entirely new—an American fable of ideas.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)

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“An eclectic hybrid of literary appropriation, Zelig-like historical narrative, time-travel tale and old-style picaresque.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A sobering read and a wake-up call . . . which firmly places Lock as one of the most talented authors working today.”


“A wonderful meditation on the struggle to dovetail one’s present self with the one’s past.”

Friends of Atticus

“I read Norman Lock’s The Boy in His Winter with delight and amazement. Styled in the vernacular of a rapidly changing America, it stays true to the themes of Mark Twain’s original: class relations, race and slavery, childhood innocence, moral hypocrisy—and, of course, the stark beauty and unforgiving nature of America’s greatest river. I finished this absolutely elegant narrative feeling that Huck Finn has never been more alive.”

David M. Oshinsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Polio: An American Story and Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice

“In this surreal and otherworldly river journey through time, Norman Lock transports Huck Finn down the Mississippi and deep into America’s history—and future. Elegant and imaginative, The Boy in His Winter is a tale that’s as hypnotic as it is profound.”

Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America

The Boy in His Winter is delightful, glorious. It is less a book one merely reads than itself a river one allows oneself to be borne along in, carried in currents and eddies, lured to false banks and sunken towns and so forth. The places Huck/Albert winds up—in the yacht industry, Googling the world’s rivers, and finally impersonating his nemesis—seem so perfect, yet each one serves as a burst of surprise. And, of course, the sentences—what is one to say about them except that Lock is one of our great miniaturists, to be read only a single time at one’s peril. I will recommend it to every reader I know.”

Tim Horvath, author of Understories

“The voice of Huck Finn is so vivid and felt in this novel one loses the sense there’s an author behind it. . . . [The Boy in His Winter] is a testament to friendship, sharing, a slow life derailed and a look at America from a truly unique perspective. Huck is unforgettable and this book then even more so.”

Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books (Northern California’s Sonoma County)

“In Norman Lock’s imaginative and brilliant riff on Twain’s great American novel, Huck tells us his new stories and does not leave us until he is an old man in 2077, inviting us to recall the original novel and to review American history with a fresh eye. . . . This is a provocative and challenging book.”

Carole Goldberg, Hartford Public Library

“I read a short excerpt and was immediately hooked. . . . I’m no time traveler myself, but the novel has all the makings of a wonderful film, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re placing your hold on the DVD in a few years, too.”

Karen McBride, Barrington Area Library in the Barrington Courier-Review

Huck Finn and Jim float on their raft across a continuum of shifting seasons, feasting on a limitless supply of fish and stolen provisions, propelled by the currents of the mighty Mississippi from one adventure to the next. Launched into existence by Mark Twain, they have now been transported by Norman Lock through three vital, violent, and transformative centuries of American history. As time unfurls on the river’s banks, they witness decisive battles of the Civil War, the betrayal of Reconstruction’s promises to the freed slaves, the crushing of Native American nations, and the electrification of a continent. While Jim enters real time when he disembarks the raft in the Jim Crow South, Huck finally comes of age when he’s washed up on shore during Hurricane Katrina. An old man in 2077, Huck takes stock of his life and narrates his own story, revealing our nation’s past, present, and future as Mark Twain could never have dreamed it.

The first stand-alone book in The American Novels seriesThe Boy in His Winter is a tour-de-force work of imagination, beauty, and courage that re-envisions a great American literary classic for our time.

Reader’s Digest “Great Books from Small Presses That Are Worth Your Time”

Huffington Post “Best New Book”

BuzzFeed “30 Science Fiction And Fantasy Books To Buy”

Flavorwire “50 Excellent Fabulist Books Everyone Should Read”

Publishers Weekly & Spartanburg Herald-Journal Escape “Pick of the Week”

Library Journal “Discoveries” selection & “Book That Buzzed at BEA”

Excerpt from The Boy in His Winter

Norman Lock talks to Scott Simon on NPR Weekend Edition, and with Slice magazine, Construction magazine, and the Playwrights Theatre of NJ about Mark Twain, Huck Finn, and how his own experience during Hurricane Sandy inspired his novel The Boy in His Winter.

Listen to Norman Lock read from The Boy in His Winter at The Author’s Corner on Public Radio.

“Ransacking memory’s drawers will not suffice; one must consult sources to get the history and the scenography right.” Norman Lock shares his “Research Notes” for The Boy in His Winter with Necessary Fiction.

Preview The Boy in His Winter in Shelf Unbound (p. 30) and at The Collagist where Lock also delivers an “interview-in-excerpts,” channeling the voice of Huck Finn directly from the novel.