Picaresque fiction

Madcap escapades: The All True Adventures (and Rare Education) of the Daredevil Daniel Bones, by Owen Booth, reviewed

The narrative of an adolescent travelling by water with an older companion, undergoing trials and ordeals, encountering scoundrels and villains, with glimpses of society from high to low as they drift pass: it doesn’t take long before the flavour of this picaresque novel starts to seem hauntingly familiar. In his mid-teens towards the end of the 19th century, Dan, like Huckleberry Finn, escapes from a drunken father, and, though his journey is down the waterways of Europe rather than the Mississippi, the way he silently registers the corruption he sees all around him is deeply reminiscent of his literary forebear. His companion, the charming cad Captain Clarke B, could equally