Books

The Trees

A novel by Percival Everett.

Percival Everett's The Trees 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 fast-paced style that ensures the reader can't look away. 

The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America's pulse. (From Graywolf Press)

From the book

Money, Mississippi looks exactly like it sounds. Named in that persistent Southern tradition of irony and with the attendant traditoin of nescience, the name becomes slightly sad, a marker of self-conscious ignorance that might as well be embraced because, let's face it, it isn't going away.

Just outside Money, there was what might have loosely been considered a suburb, perhaps even called a neighbourhood, a not-so-small collection of vinyl-sided, split-level ranch and shotgun houses called, unofficially, Small Change. In one of the dying grass backyards, around the fraying edges of an empty aboveground pool, one adorned with faded mermaids, a small family gathering was happening. THe gathering was neither festive, nor special, but usual.


From The Trees by Percival Everett ©2021. Published by Graywolf Press.

 

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