Until recently, Percival Everett’s books were sometimes a little difficult to get hold of in the UK. But since Influx Press have begun the project of re-issuing his titles, Everett’s moving, humorous and often provocative works have found a new lease of life, and a new generation of readers in Britain. His latest title to be published by Influx, The Trees, is a brand-new work that takes direct aim at racism and police violence. It is an enormously powerful novel – and our Book of the Month for March.
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, a young black boy lynched in the same town 65 years before.
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.
Praise for Percival Everett and The Trees:
‘Everett has mastered the movement between unspeakable terror and knock out comedy.’– New York Times
‘The novelist has regularly exploded our models of genre and identity. In The Trees, he’s raising the stakes, confronting America’s legacy of lynching in a mystery at once hilarious and horrifying.’– The New Yorker
‘In The Trees, Everett’s enormous talent for wordplay – the kind that provokes laughter and the kind that gut-punches – is at its peak… He makes a revenge fantasy into a comic horror masterpiece. He turns narrative stakes into moral stakes and raises them sky-high. Readers will laugh until it hurts.’– Los Angeles Times
The Trees by Percival Everett
Published by Influx Press 24th March 2022
(9781914391170, p/b, £9.99)