This review begins on a personal note: I have an inexplicable aversion to books about circuses, acrobats and aviators. But I loved Maggie Shipstead's light page-turner Seating Arrangements from many moons ago, and thought I would give this flying-themed book a try; I'm so glad I did. What an absolute stunner. If you love a saga--one that spans decades, locations and world events--this is the novel for you. I only wished it were longer so I could luxuriate in the story a few chapters more.
Wow, this book is incredible. The blurbs on the back cover from a litany of great writers (Jacqueline Woodson, Marlon James, Brit Bennett) all say it better than I can. However, I will add: read this book, if for nothing else than for Abdurraqib's stunning essay "I Would Like to Give Mary Clayton Her Roses." He packs it all into this brilliant, personal, insightful and ultimately devastating essay about Clayton's backup vocals on the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." This book should win all of the prizes.
Percival Everett demonstrates his literary genius anew with The Trees. Incisively crafted with healthy helpings of mordant humor along the way, Everett’s latest follows two Mississippi state detectives as they investigate a macabre murder scene in Money, Mississippi, site of the lynching of Emmett Till decades prior. It’s a police procedural; it’s a thriller; it’s a ghost story; it’s a sharply honed commentary on racism and police violence. Just hold on for the ride.
In this transporting novel, Shay, a Black woman from California working as a professor of literature in Milan, has married Senna, a wealthy Italian businessman. Before long, Shay finds herself in an unsought-after role, managing the servants at her vacation estate on an island off the coast of Madagascar. She wrestles with her privilege, her race, her ambivalence, her marriage, and her overall place in ex-pat island life. A page-turning and thought-provoking read.