Percival Everett

Congratulations to Top Ten contributor Percival Everett whose recent novel, The Trees, has been named one of five finalists for the uber-prestigious Pen/Jean Stein Book Award.

The novel is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till.

The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution, but soon discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. Something truly strange is afoot. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence, and does so in a fast-paced style that ensures the reader can’t look away. 

Percival Everett’s Top Ten List

1. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (1759–67).
2. The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler (1903).
3. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884).
4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952).
5. Cane by Jean Toomer (1923).
6. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962).
7. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (1927).
8. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (1971).
9. Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (1987).
10. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter (1984).