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Percival Everett

Författare till Erasure

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Om författaren

Percival Everett is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.

Verk av Percival Everett

Erasure (2001) 809 exemplar
The Trees (2021) 655 exemplar
I Am Not Sidney Poitier (2009) 325 exemplar
Telephone (2020) 206 exemplar
Dr No (2022) 204 exemplar
American Desert (2004) 189 exemplar
Glyph (1999) 179 exemplar
So Much Blue (2017) 177 exemplar
Wounded (2005) 176 exemplar
Assumption (2011) 163 exemplar
God's Country (1994) 99 exemplar
Half an Inch of Water: Stories (2015) 96 exemplar
Damned If I Do: Stories (2004) 81 exemplar
Watershed (1996) 81 exemplar
The Water Cure (2007) 70 exemplar
Suder (1983) 53 exemplar
James (2024) 48 exemplar
Cutting Lisa (1986) 39 exemplar
For Her Dark Skin (1990) 26 exemplar
Frenzy (1996) 25 exemplar
Big Picture (1996) 25 exemplar
Walk Me to the Distance (1985) 25 exemplar
Grand Canyon, Inc. (2001) 23 exemplar
The One That Got Away (1992) 23 exemplar
Zulus (1990) 18 exemplar
X (2011) 11 exemplar
re: f (gesture) (Black Goat) (2004) 9 exemplar
There Are No Names for Red (2010) — Illustratör — 9 exemplar
The Body of Martin Aguilera (2013) 8 exemplar
Swimming Swimmers Swimming (2011) 8 exemplar
Trout's Lie (2015) 6 exemplar
Châtiment 1 exemplar
n + 1 issue spring 2020 (2020) 1 exemplar
Two Stories (FreeReadPress) (2018) 1 exemplar

Associerade verk

The Best American Short Stories 2000 (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 391 exemplar
Gumbo: A Celebration of African American Writing (2002) — Bidragsgivare — 125 exemplar
In the United States of Africa (2006) — Förord, vissa utgåvor99 exemplar
Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor (2006) — Bidragsgivare — 65 exemplar
My California: Journeys By Great Writers (2004) — Bidragsgivare — 54 exemplar
The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story (2021) — Bidragsgivare — 50 exemplar
A Portrait of Southern Writers: Photographs (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 13 exemplar
Nick Brandt - the day may break (2021) — Efterord — 7 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



AMERICAN AUTHORS CHALLENGE--AUGUST 2023--PERCIVAL EVERETT i 75 Books Challenge for 2023 (februari 4)


With its strong note of the Southern grotesque, I naturally thought of Flannery O’Connor while reading this extraordinary novel. Like O’Connor, Everett exaggerates his characters and plot to make the stupid violent racism of whites more shocking. Everett’s racists here are profoundly stupid people. This is not to say however that Everett and O’Connor are similar in their fundamental aims. O’Connor was famously a Catholic novelist. She was concerned with redemption, and her stories attempted to show to a complacent society why we needed it. Everett is not a Catholic or any kind of religious novelist.* “The Trees” is not about redemption, but revenge. It is a purely secular reckoning with a sinful society, lacking any transcendence.

This similarity/difference is nicely illustrated I think in O’Connor’s quote that, “The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural.” Everett does not have any Christian concerns but in “The Trees” he is also addressing the problem of forcing a slumbering sinful society (sorry) to look at its horrific pattern of racist violence. One of his characters muses:

“Everybody talks about genocides around the world, but when the killing is slow and spread over a hundred years, no one notices. Where there are no mass graves, no one notices. American outrage is always for show. It has a shelf life. If that Griffin book had been Lynched Like Me, America might have looked up from dinner or baseball or whatever they do now. Twitter?”

Or take this exchange between Everett’s avenging angel, Mama Z, and a well-meaning academic whose uselessness is corrected by forcing him to take a more visceral look at America’s racist violence:
“What do you know about lynching?” Mama Z asked.
“Some. I wrote a book about racial violence.”
“I know,” the old woman said. “I have a copy in the house. It’s very …”—she searched for the word—“scholastic.”
“I think you’re saying that like it’s a bad thing.”
Mama Z shrugged.
Damon looked at Gertrude, as if for clarification, only to see her shrug as well. “Scholastic,” he repeated.
“Don’t take it the wrong way,” Gertrude said.
“Your book is very interesting,” Mama Z said, “because you were able to construct three hundred and seven pages on such a topic without an ounce of outrage.”
Damon was visibly bothered by this. “One hopes that dispassionate, scientific work will generate proper outrage.”
“Nicely said, nicely said,” Mama Z said. “Wouldn’t you say that was nicely said, great-granddaughter?”

Everett’s story here, and his use of the Southern grotesque tradition, does an incredible job of illustrating the repugnant distortion of America’s past and present. It is highly engaging, humorous mixed with horror, and the writing is addictive. He leads his characters, and the reader, to first imagine this is a ghost story of one vengeful spirit, then to a more natural explanation involving a small active group of assassins, only to finally veer way off into a zombie revenge fantasy that I for one never saw coming!

It is not all Southern grotesque of course, Everett writes out of multiple traditions here. One of his most effective methods borrows from the Homeric Epic - the making of lists. Lists of names. Lists of places. Lots of lists of places. This is an entire and complete chapter:

Florence, South Carolina. Macon, Georgia. Hope Mills, North Carolina. Selma, Alabama. Shelbyville, Tennessee. Blue Ash, Ohio. Bedford, Indiana. Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Irmo, South Carolina. Orangeburg, South Carolina. Los Angeles, California. Jackson, Mississippi. Benton, Arkansas. Lexington, Nebraska. New York, New York. Rolla, Missouri. Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Elsmere, Delaware. Tarrytown, New York. Grafton, North Dakota. Oxford, Pennsylvania. Anne Arundel, Maryland. Otero, Colorado. Coos Bay, Oregon. Chester, South Carolina. Petersburg, Virginia. Laurel, Delaware. Madison, Maryland. Beckley, West Virginia. Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. Fort Mill, South Carolina. Niceville, Florida. Slidell, Louisiana. Money, Mississippi. DeSoto, Mississippi. Quitman, Mississippi. Elmore, Alabama. Jefferson, Alabama. Montgomery, Alabama. Henry, Alabama. Colbert, Alabama. Russell, Alabama. Coffee, Alabama. Clarke, Alabama. Laurens, South Carolina. Greenwood, South Carolina. Oconee, South Carolina. Union, South Carolina. Aiken, South Carolina. York, South Carolina. Abbeville, South Carolina. Hampton, South Carolina. Franklin, Mississippi. Lowndes, Mississippi. Leflore, Mississippi. Simpson, Mississippi. Jefferson, Mississippi. Washington, Mississippi. George, Mississippi. Monroe, Mississippi. Humphreys, Mississippi. Bolivar, Mississippi. Sunflower, Mississippi. Hinds, Mississippi. Newton, Mississippi. Copiah, Mississippi. Alcorn, Mississippi. Jefferson Davis, Mississippi. Panola, Mississippi. Clay, Mississippi. Lamar, Mississippi. Yazoo, Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi. Mississippi.

Personally I found that the most chillingly effective chapter in the whole novel. Over and over and over, lynching after lynching after lynching. It keeps happening but don’t dare for a second think it’s natural, or just the way things are.

This is an incredible, extraordinary, accomplished, brilliant, urgent novel. The writing quality is very high. My only hesitation with it is that purely secular revenge stories as good as they may be are always missing something for me that writers like O’Connor have. Here there is no transcendence, no redemption, no grace. All there is is the world’s brutal stage and actors upon it and the best thing is revenge. There are many stories like that, of course, and they can be very entertaining. And if a belief in something greater than the material world is alien to the reader’s constitution, they would not share this small hesitation. Either way, definitely a 5 star read.

* Quote from Everett in an interview: “Religion is about fear. Nobody wants to be a Christian because they want to help people. They want to be a Christian so they don't go to hell.” I’m admittedly disappointed he has this simplistic outlook but it does fit perfectly with “The Trees”.
… (mer)
lelandleslie | 41 andra recensioner | Feb 24, 2024 |
Emmett Till lives (and dies) many times in this seriocomic novel in which racism suffuses the roots of every tree in America.
ben_r47 | 41 andra recensioner | Feb 22, 2024 |
Good book. Edge of the seat thriller. Page-turner.
37143Birnbaum | 41 andra recensioner | Feb 21, 2024 |
Main fella in the story is one Curt Marder. His story - “They burned my house and my barn, killed my milk cow and my best pulling mule and then run off with my Sadie, my woman, the light of my life.” They also killed his dog. A terrible story all told, though most that hear it give their condolences just for the dog!

Marder throws in with a kid named Jake and a tracker named Bubba to hunt those dirty no-good-fers down and kill ‘em. It's a really, really good story with a great mix of humor and action. But I really didn't like the end, not at all. I'm taking away a whole star for that ending.… (mer)
Stahl-Ricco | 3 andra recensioner | Feb 19, 2024 |



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