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InstaReview: The Trees by Percival Everett

"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."

Percival Everett’s The Trees, is a racial satire that packs one helluva punch into 300 pages of fast-paced, historical fiction and horror. In the opening chapters there is a brutal murder, written in gory detail and shrouded in mystery. There’s a second body at the crime scene, but with no blood or finger prints to corroborate its existence, the town’s detectives are stumped. The confusion deepens when the body mysteriously disappears from the morgue and reappears at a second murder in the same day. Percival Everett writes effortlessly, with purpose and humor, on a topic that is anything but. There are explicit political overtones, from the current state of systemic racism in America, to the history of racially-driven lynching. While the novel is dialogue heavy and doesn’t wrap up with a nice tidy bow, overall we enjoyed the powerful way that Everett writes. This absolutely belongs on the Booker Prize short list and should be in everyone’s TBR stacks.


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