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Los árboles de Everett Percival
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Los árboles (edição: 2023)

de Everett Percival (Autor)

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6564234,798 (4.09)1 / 107
Fiction. Literature. Thriller. An uncanny literary thriller addressing the painful legacy of lynching in the US, by the author of Telephone Percival Everett's The Trees is a must-listen 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. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America's pulse.… (mais)
Membro:Svergara
Título:Los árboles
Autores:Everett Percival (Autor)
Informação:De Conatus (2023), Edition: Premio Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse 2022, 360 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:A2

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The Trees de Percival Everett

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 Book talk: Is this (name a book!) worth finishing?8 por ler / 8amysisson, Março 2023

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Mostrando 1-5 de 42 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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”. ( )
  lelandleslie | 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 | Feb 22, 2024 |
Good book. Edge of the seat thriller. Page-turner. ( )
  37143Birnbaum | Feb 21, 2024 |
Great social commentary in this unique book that mixes humor with america's past and present injustice. ( )
  lneukirch | Feb 4, 2024 |
Percival Everett does not believe in forgive and forget.

The Trees is a brutal satire intended to remind America of its legacy of hatred toward blacks and not just blacks, but to the Chinese and Italians who suffered from the lynching mobs.

The trees were where the bodies were hung, and the family trees embalm the traditions of hatred carried forward from those awful days.

He devotes pages and pages to the names of the murdered in this detective mystery. And while it provides no solace to the dead, it raises the specter of a comeback.

Devotees of The Walking Dead will recognize the scenario. The grotesque built on the shoulders of humour.

A few years ago my wife and I took a detour from our usual trip home from Florida.

We drove to Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham Alabama to visit the scenes of the Civil Rights protests led by Martin Luther King Jr. and others.

To see where white supremacist terrorists planted bombs for little black girls at church.

At the far end of the Pettis Bridge in Selma is a museum to segregation and and the brutal means used to enforce white supremacy.

While the museum itself is a shock to the senses, what struck me more was how many visitors went to Disney World that day compared to the few other people, the few other whites in particular, who visited this theme park.

And as if the message was not clear enough, across the street was recreation of the lynching forests.

But don’t let the grimness of the subject matter keep you from reading this very funny novel, among the funniest I have read. Certainly the funniest revenge fantasy.

It deserves a place up there on the shelf with Paul Beatty’s The Sellout and Jonathon Swift’s A Modest Proposal. ( )
1 vote MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 42 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
The setting is a small town called Money, Mississippi, “named in that persistent Southern tradition of irony”. We meet a dysfunctional white family unit with its morose matriarch Granny C, her son Wheat Bryant, and her nephew, Junior Junior. This time it’s the white folks’ turn to be rendered in grotesque caricature, and the actions of this feckless clan are played as broad knockabout, almost like a reverse minstrel show.
adicionado por bergs47 | editarThe Guardian, Jake Arnott (Aug 31, 2022)
 

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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Percival Everettautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Mues, JonaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stingl, NikolausTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Fiction. Literature. Thriller. An uncanny literary thriller addressing the painful legacy of lynching in the US, by the author of Telephone Percival Everett's The Trees is a must-listen 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. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America's pulse.

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