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The Trees cover art

The Trees

By: Percival Everett
Narrated by: Bill Andrew Quinn
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Summary

An uncanny literary thriller addressing the painful legacy of lynching in the US, by the author of Telephone

Percival Everett's The Trees is a must-listen that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till.

The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution, but soon discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. Something truly strange is afoot. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America's pulse.

©2021 Percival Everett (P)2022 Tantor

What listeners say about The Trees

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A challenging book.

This is a difficult one to review because some areas I loved and others I found quite difficult.

The story is overall quite confusing and convoluted with multiple characters who are never really developed, I didnt feel attached to anybody in the book. The plot itself moves especially in the second half frantically around the U.S and is hard to follow at times with new locations and new characters put into the mix. The book is also written in a style that didn't really appeal to me, I is a distinctive style but a bit jarring in audio form Jim said Ed said etc etc.

The good however was very good the message and the overall tone were fantastic and at times moving. The horror of lynching is put forward in a modern and heartfelt way.

The humour was brilliant in some places especially at the end poking fun at Politicians and Generals. However at the start laughing at redneck poor people felt a bit disconcerting. Yes these people are stupid, racist and funny but they are products of a system that has made them stupid and racist.

Narration was good.

3 people found this helpful

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A beautiful American Black comedic tragedy

Witty political fantasy using the strange fruit that hangs from the trees as a focal point for a murder (or should I say murders) mystery that could only happen in the American south. How could you laugh? But I did. Clever and entertaining.

2 people found this helpful

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Not so impressed

I really wanted to like this book, but actually I'm surprised by the positive reviews and general acclaim it has garnered. I tend to regard the word literary, in the context of the phrase 'literary thriller' as synonymous with 'bad', and this is no exception. The subject is terrible and needs constant and unremitting examination - we must never let ourselves forget what happened in the American South. But I don't see this book with its ludicrous premise, thin and stereotyped characterisation and clunky humour, as being a worthy example of the way to memorialise it.

While the narrator brings the flavour of the South to his reading, his characterisation is terrible. Throughout the book, one is never sure until there is a clue in the text whether a new character is black or white. Everyone speaks the same, except on the occasions when the plot takes us outside Mississippi, when the attempts to render a non-Southern accents are comic.

Nearly four hours in, finding no particular progress in the plot or startling insights, I'm afraid I gave up.

1 person found this helpful

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Even better than you’ve heard!

This Booker Prize finalist is funny, gruesome, intelligent, topical, satirical, pointed. Some characters border on stereotypes, but Everett’s sharp details render them realistic. Cannot recommend more highly.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

I’m speechless to say the least but an amazing book no wonder it was Booker shortlisted, great performance too.

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Dreary

I did not enjoy listening to this at all. Trudged through for book club. maybe one of thise books that is better as a read. I found the tone if the reader quite difficult to focus on and subsequently found the many characters in the book hard to remember.

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Thought provoking and disturbing

Not sure how I feel about this novel. Bits I loved, some made me laugh out loud and some made me feel very uncomfortable.
But overall definitely worth a credit.

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Excellent Novel

You have to be ready for some violence, & very racist attitudes & language - not ‘gratuitous’ though, I’d say. If your a Trump supporter or denizen of the USA ‘deep south’ be ready for what you might, by now, be thinking of as stereotyping. Sorry! A short but fantastic novel that says some needful things & is always going off in unexpected directions.

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  • HH
  • 14-04-22

Great story, uneven performance

The reader has a great voice, but his intonation often falls a little short, with quite a lot of unnatural pausing in the middle of sentences. It feels like the recording might have been rushed and unfortunately it does detract from the experience a bit.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ian Hlavacek
  • 07-12-22

Meaning buried in ridiculousness

Whatever important meaning that resides in this story has been buried under a serious of ludicrous events. They are amusing at first, but they get more and more tiresome and tedious as the book goes on.

Ed and Jim are fantastic. Would love some more detective work by these too. With fewer indulgent revenge fantasies.

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  • Sutapa Chattopadhyay
  • 07-11-22

An epic novel about lynching - it's repercussions

I enjoyed the novel a lot. It was graphic but used dark humor to make it's point. The only thing is - the conclusion or the whodunit was at the tail end of the novel. Most of the novel was about endless murders all over the country and no one knowing what was going on. Only at the very end, the black FBI agent finally has a hunch and the murderers and planners come to light. This is not unusual in whodunits but what is a bit off-putting is, the murders are so repetitive that it gets boring and the reader (or at least this reader) gets impatient to see what ends it. Whether it is Minnesota or Wyoming or Mississippi, all the murders are the same. I wanted the repetition to end.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-10-22

It is a good story with a few twists.

I thought the overall story was enjoyable to follow. The narration was okay for most of the book, but nearing the end I didn’t feel that the intensity of the story was matched very well. I think this particular novel might be better to read so you can develop your own character voices.

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  • EminG
  • 18-10-22

Started great and then went down-hill

The first 2/3 of the book was great. It was entertaining, funny, interesting and smart. However, the last 1/3 of the book was somewhat boring and hard to follow. New characters were coming in and out without much of an introduction or an explanation and the story became stranger. I went from loving this book to being befuddled at the end.

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  • Earnest
  • 26-09-22

Genocide, only partially hidden behind the lesser word “lynching.” A horror..

Such a timely arrival on a worldwide, literary list. It is a huge nod to how humour -however grim-might assist a cause, how reading out a list in a measured voice is so powerful and the use of one excerpt only, out of far too many by a horribly powerful and undeserving person, all can pack such a big punch.
Genocide. That word is worth finding in this book. That’s what it amounts to. Many of us have felt that dreadful footfall in our lives.

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  • Burns
  • 15-09-22

Gave up after 5 chapters

Reading that it's supposed to be humorous. and a brilliant allegory. sounds like it was written by the writer of Smokey and the Bandit's Sheriff Buford T. Justice's dialogue. or may by a couple if middle school boys.

And, as a previous reviewer pointed out, "y'all" is a plural pronoun, never used in the singular.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-09-22

Riveting

This was an incredible book. I highly recommend—extremely creative with brilliant writing. It really makes you consider our history from a new perspective.

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  • holly hotchner
  • 27-08-22

Extraordinary

Reading top notch
Story funny poignant and deeply moving
A totally refreshing approach to racism in the usa

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • KB
  • 25-08-22

truly excellent

Historians will identify the events quickly. Important take on recent revelations of an infamous case.