James

Percival Everett

11 April 2024
9781035031238
320 pages

Synopsis

Selected as one of the top 12 reads of 2024 by The Times and Sunday Times

'James has the potential to become a classic . . . thrilling, bold and profound' — The Sunday Times

An enthralling and ferociously funny reimagining of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, told from the perspective of the enslaved Jim. Written by Booker Prize-shortlisted Percival Everett, his novel Erasure is now released as the critically acclaimed and Oscar-winning film American Fiction, and James is set to be the literary event of 2024.

The Mississippi River, 1861. When the enslaved Jim overhears that he is about to be sold to a new owner in New Orleans and separated from his wife and daughter forever, he decides to hide on nearby Jackson’s Island until he can formulate a plan. Meanwhile, Huck Finn has faked his own death to escape his violent father who recently returned to town. Thus begins a dangerous and transcendent journey by raft along the Mississippi River, towards the elusive promise of the free states and beyond. As James and Huck begin to navigate the treacherous waters, each bend in the river holds the promise of both salvation and demise.

With rumours of a brewing war, James must face the burden he carries: the family he is desperate to protect and the constant lie he must live. And together, the unlikely pair must face the most dangerous odyssey of them all . . .

From the shadows of Huck Finn’s mischievous spirit, Jim emerges to reclaim his voice, defying the conventions that have consigned him to the margins.

'Gripping, painful, funny, horrifying . . . a consummate performance to the last' — The Observer


'This is the work of an American master at the peak of his powers' — Financial Times

‘Both a page-turner and a profound meditation on the ramifications of slavery and self-hood . . . Luminous’ — TLS

James has the potential to become a classic . . . thrilling, bold and profound
Percival Everett is a giant of American letters, and James is a canon-shatteringly great book. Unforgiving and compassionate, beautiful and brutal, a tragedy and a farce, this brilliant novel rewrites literary history to let us hear the voices it has long suppressed
James is funny and horrifying, brilliant and riveting. In telling the story of Jim instead of Huckleberry Finn, Percival Everett delivers a powerful, necessary corrective to both literature and history. I found myself cheering both the writer and his hero. Who should read this book? Every single person in the country