The Trees by Percival Everett

March 7, 2023

A racing, allegorical, and contemplative thriller.

What a ride!

It’d be easy to say too much and spoil things, but it’s safe to say that I was pulled through first by a plot that never slowed and then the gravity of racial undercurrents well beyond the story. Characters were introduced carefully enough that I actually managed to keep them straight as the cast grew, but the story pulsed with energy and momentum and humor and hit unapologetically hard as it went.

An impressive range of description, dialect, humor, and poignancy kept things feeling real and constantly new and in motion. Even the title changed shape as I read. Many breadcrumbs were just memorable enough to resonate later.

I started to doubt that it could possibly end well, and I was wrong. It was a slam it shut with goosebumps kind of ending.

It’s also more than an engrossing read if you’re an American thinking about race. There’s plenty left to sit with, worth sitting with, after the rush of the plot winds down.