Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise by the late Oscar Hijuelos is an “absorbing and luminous” novel about the friendship between Twain and British explorer Henry David Stanley. As the story unfolds, they meet up while working on a Mississippi riverboat, two aspiring writers who had yet to make their mark on the world. They journey together to Cuba to seek out Stanley’s sort-of adoptive father. The arrival of Stanley’s wife, painter Dorothy Tennant, creates an interesting foil between the two men. The story, told in part from invented letters, diary entries, speeches, fragments of autobiography, and dialog, is “an extraordinary feat of historical re-creation (Booklist).” Another MVSB book of the month.