A work of fiction inspired by the real-life, 37-year friendship between two towering figures of the late nineteenth century, famed writer and humorist Mark Twain and legendary explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley.
At day’s end, Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise delivers as an erudite vaudeville of turn-of-the-century superstars (Bram Stoker! Gladstone! Conan Doyle!) and a self-effacing swan song for a gifted novelist who, in modulating his singular voice to harmonize with those of his fabled subjects, seems to be meditating upon his own place in the pantheon.
Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise is not the equal of Hijuelos’s finest work. It is best understood as a project that will always be in progress, energized by its potential, its sections captured in the midst of being revised and arranged by a writer who knew how to keep his readers enthralled.