Percival Everett by Virgil Russell

Percival Everett by Virgil Russell
A Novel
Percival Everett
"Though funny, the novel also possesses a terrible and still sadness, concerning as it does not only William Styron and Nat Turner but also aging and death, the tragic hatred of racists, the depth of solitude at life's end. . . . The book, though it's frequently philosophical, is not in the least boring. Dear reader, how that impressed me! For there are times when philosophy can be less than action-packed. This is not one of them. Therefore, I heartily commend this book to you. It's like a carnival ride, but not the kind where you vomit. . . . Percival Everett numbers among his very best."—Lydia Millet, The Los Angeles Times
“Everett is one of the most gifted and versatile of contemporary writers. . . . His work takes hold of us and won’t let go.”—Alan Cheuse,

About the Book

“Anything we take for granted, Mr. Everett means to show us, may turn out to be a lie.”—The Wall Street Journal

A story unfolds inside a story as a man visits his aging father in a nursing home. Each man tells overlapping tales: A painter meets a long-lost daughter. A man named Murphy can’t distinguish between the brothers who employ him. And in Murphy’s troubled dreams, Nat Turner imagines the life of William Styron. Anecdotes from the nursing home intertwine and crest in a wild excursion of the inmates. All the while a running commentary from father and son anchors the shifting plotlines and sheds doubt on their truthfulness. A powerful meditation on the humiliations of old age, Percival Everett by Virgil Russell is an ingenious culmination of Everett’s recurring preoccupations. All of his metaphysical and philosophical inquiries, his investigations into the nature of narrative, have led to this, his most important and elusive novel to date.

Additional Reviews

"A potent and thoughtful exploration of the bonds between fathers and children."Washington Post
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013
Finalist for the PEN / Faulkner Award for Fiction

Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
"[A] stark, shattering novel. . . . Everett [is] a scandalously under-recognized contemporary master. . . . The splintered stories keep their urgency even as they lose their drift. The note of sadness struck in the dedication swells and echoes through the wreckage of narrative, reaching a pitch of extraordinary anguish. This meta-fiction is deeply moving."Wall Street Journal
"Funny, insightful, and unpredictable. . . . Everett is a master of his trade."Time Out Chicago

"The prolific Everett writes brilliantly about family, race, mortality, and even the act of storytelling itself. His innovative and often blisteringly funny books will make you reconsider long-held assumptions."Reader's Digest
"Everett tackles the timeless psychic tug-of-war between fathers and son with zigzagging, psychedelic verve."The Rumpus
"Everett is one of the most important, and still overlooked, novelists in the contemporary American landscape, and though he can be a devilish trickster when it comes to the way he lets his tories unfurl, he is the farthest thing form pretentious."The Creosote Journal
"Combines the philosophical puzzling of Beckett with the oddball discursiveness of Brautigan, and has the playfulness of both."PWxyz, "PW Best Books of 2013"
“The heart of storytelling and the heart of a complicated man beat together in this extraordinary meditation on love, language, and the irrevocable action of time. Who tells whose story when and why and how do we know when it’s over? For Everett, it‘s never over, and it’s never enough, and it’s the very best thing we’ve got. A novel of surpassing intelligence, grief, and tenderness.”—Stacey D’Erasmo, author of The Sky Below
"Within [a] narrative labyrinth, the novel is much more than an academic exercise . . . as it searches for the possibility of meaning in life as well as narrative and meditates on the process of aging and the inevitability of death."Kirkus Reviews
"[Percival Everett by Virgil Russell is] an innovative exploration of the outer limits of narrative ambiguity, and it's also a deeply felt book about a father and a son. . . . An intriguing and intricate puzzle of a novel."Booklist
"[Percival Everett is] so humanely adept at getting to the heart of the human condition. . . . Everett has created much more than an exercise in unreliable narration, an exploration of the nature of language and the rationales we create to keep ourselves going as we grow old. By the conclusion, every sentence, indeed every word, has come to seem like a valuable key, not just to this puzzle of a novel, but to the meaning of existence."Publishers Weekly
"Well worth the read; you won't think about popular fiction, the world of ideas, or old age in the same way again."Library Journal
“[Contains] scenes of great emotional authenticity. . . . Everett’s metafictional reflections on identity will further solidify his critical reputation.”Shelf Awareness
"Everett gives us a work of fiction that grapples with grief, the fragility of human life, death, relationships, loneliness, and yearning for purpose. . . . We are left breathless, with heartache and with the understanding we are all made of stories, nothing but products of our diverging and converging plot lines that eventually will come to an inexorable point."—ZYZZYVA
“In a more perfect world the novelist Percival Everett would dominate the bestseller list to such a degree that they would need to give him his own category, Harry Potter style. . . . The man is practically A Goddamn National Treasure.”

—Alex Balk, The Awl
"Witty [and] perceptive . . . Everett's writing is dazzling throughout."PopMatters
“Possessed by a loopy, madcap energy. . . . [Everett] demonstrates that a literary work can be cerebral, emotionally affecting, and highly readable at the same time. The novel also turns out to be relentlessly funny.”—Brooks Sterritt, Paste Magazine
"By manipulating narrative structures in new and interesting ways [Everett] asks questions of both our expectations and the novel's conventions. . . . For an experimental novel, this is an extraordinarily funny read."Monkeybicycle
"The story it [Percival Everett by Virgil Russell] tells, however obliquely, and the subject it addresses, however indistinctly, are among the most emotionally engaging, even moving, in Everett's fiction."Full Stop
"Everett [is] a master of language."The Seattle Times