Damned If I Do

Percival Everett

28 September 2023
224 pages


An artist, a cop, a cowboy, several fly fishermen and even a reluctant romance novelist inhabit these revealing and often hilarious stories. An old man ends up in a high-speed chase with the cops after stealing the car that blocks the garbage bin at his apartment building. A stranger gets a job at a sandwich shop and fixes everything in sight: a manual mustard dispenser, a mouthful of crooked teeth, thirty-two parking tickets and a sexual identity problem.

Everett skewers race, class, identity, surrealism and much more in this masterful short story collection from a genius of American letters.

Rooted in a profound sense of rural place, [the stories in Damned If I Do] are original and subtle, canny and soulful – full, too, of sublimely sardonic humour. As for its characters, they’re so multidimensional that their ethnicity is but one item on a long list of expectation-dashing attributes.
It's hard to pigeonhole Percival Everett. Working between the traditions of the academy and the African American tall tale, he writes with a sharp satirical voice
I think Percival Everett is a genius. He's a brilliant writer and so damn smart I envy him.