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Everett, Percival

Entry updated 10 January 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1956-    ) US academic and author, active from the early 1960s, whose twenty-two novels variously and imaginatively press against mimetic readings; though most are nonfantastic, there is a sense that many of them pan the water margins of Fantastika. There are several novels of sf interest. In Zulus (1990), a Near Future tale set after the end of a nuclear World War Three, the one fertile woman who has survived becomes pregnant. The infant protagonist of Glyph (1999) cannot speak but knows many tongues (see Linguistics). Grand Canyon, Inc. (2001) is an Alternate History Western in homage to Edward Abbey – in a narrative voice that clearly channels Kurt Vonnegut – in which the controversial Glen Canyon Dam that blocked the Colorado River from 1963 is sabotaged as Abbey had prescribed in The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975; rev 1985); in reality, by 2020 or so, Lake Powell, which the dam had blocked the Colorado River to create, was losing water very much faster than it could be replenished.

American Desert (2004) is a Satire in which a dead man, his head severed in a car crash, comes to life at the funeral, clearly resembling the Frankenstein Monster; Christian fundamentalists are inspired to plan for more Events. Not Sidney Poitier, the protagonist of I Am Not Sidney Poitier (2009), magically re-enacts the actor Sidney Poitier's film feats. Telephone (2020), structured as a metafiction (see Fabulation), was issued in three seemingly identical editions, each with a different ending. An unsourceable wave of what seems like personified vengeance for earlier wrongs done to the Black population of Mississippi darkly transfigures The Trees (2021), which takes some of its material from the Torture and murder of Emmett Till in 1955:

Rise [said the plague wind], Rise. It left towns torn apart. Families grieved.... It was weather. Rise. It was a cloud. It was a front, a front of dead air.

Everett's twenty-two novels and numerous stories are told in various voices, with great energy and narrative drive. [JC]

Percival Leonard Everett

born Fort Gordon, Georgia: 22 December 1956

works (selected)

  • Zulus (Sag Harbor, New York: The Permanent Press, 1990) [hb/Robert Wade]
  • Frenzy (Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 1996) [pb/Adrian Morgan]
  • Glyph (Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 1999) [hb/nonpictorial]
  • Grand Canyon, Inc. (San Francisco, California: Versus Press, 2001) [pb/Versus Press]
  • American Desert (New York: Hyperion, 2004) [hb/Allison J Warner]
  • I Am Not Sidney Poitier (Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2009) [pb/Kapo Ng]
  • Telephone (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2020) [pb/Kapo Ng from Getty Images]
  • The Trees (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2021) [pb/nonpictorial]

collections and stories


previous versions of this entry

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