The Trees

Percival Everett

05 October 2023
352 pages


A Sunday Times Fiction Book of the Year
Winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction
A Sunday Times Novel of the Year

When the rural town of Money, Mississippi is beset by a series of brutal murders, a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, only to be met with resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a mob of racist white townsfolk. This, they expect. Less predictable, however, is the second corpse which appears at each crime scene: that of a man resembling Emmett Till, the young Black boy lynched in the same town sixty-five years earlier. As a spate of copycat killings spreads across the country, what begins as a murder investigation soon becomes a journey into the soul of America’s violent past.

Shorlisted for the Booker Prize, Percival Everett's The Trees is a phenomenal reckoning with racism in America from one of the United States's most prolific living writers.

‘Everett has mastered the movement between unspeakable terror and knock out comedy.’ - The New York Times

The genius of this novel is that in an age of reactionary populism it goes on the offensive, using popular forms to address a deep political issue as page-turning comic horror.
It's about time this extraordinary American writer got some credit this side of the Pond.
He has made some audacious leaps over nearly 40 years of writing, but The Trees may be his most audacious. 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.