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The Trees cover art

The Trees

Written by: Percival Everett
Narrated by: Bill Andrew Quinn
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Publisher's 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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It could have been great but is only mediocre

The writing is mediocre at best. The plot is unbelievable, ridiculous and ends abruptly

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Not much of a story here

Just overall disappointing. The performers tried their best but material and dialogue was poor. Would not recommend

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

Meh

While I appreciate the ability for mockery to take power away from evil people, it just feels like a misplaced use here. Every racist person was some sort of semi-retarded inbred hick and the only people with any sense were the black people. The harsh reality is that there are some frighteningly intelligent and dangerous racists out there, and everyone else isn't either a moron or oblivious or secretly full of hate.

Dialog was stilted and unbelievable with an overabundance of people saying What the f***? at very obvious and specific cues. The performance sadly didn't sell it either. It could have been a very interesting story, but it left me sorely disappointed.

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  • HH
  • 2022-04-14

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.

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  • Sutapa Chattopadhyay
  • 2022-11-07

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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  • EminG
  • 2022-10-18

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
  • 2022-09-26

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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  • Te’ Baby
  • 2023-11-01

Bizarre and Delightful

Percival Everett is amazing. This book is…many things, to say the least! But an enjoyable read. The audio actor is great.

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  • Jaime Ungo
  • 2023-05-05

Dilapidated a great idea for a story

Starts out with a great premise but degenerated into a witless babble of nonsense and bigotry. What a waste.

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  • S. N. Shively
  • 2023-05-04

I really wanted to like this book but...

*Spoiler alert* This book started out strong! It was engaging and funny. But then it got weird. It seemed like the book was based on reality since the characters tried to find logical explanations for the supernatural events. I went along for the ride, awaiting a big finale. The ending seemed so abrupt. It felt like the author wrote the book and didn't have a complete story arc or ending in mind. There was no explanation for why the spirits of those lynched came back to life or why they had convened en masse to this town and across the country. Was it simply for revenge? I really wanted to like this book, but it was a huge disappointment.

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  • J. M. Hiraga
  • 2023-04-23

Definitely not for everyone

But I loved it. Mr. Quinn sounds like a bit like Morgan Freeman, and I thought he was terrific. Don’t read this if you equate being “woke” with being educated, empathetic, and aware of some of the horrors of American history.

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  • Catherine Spiller
  • 2023-03-27

Mindless repetitive bigotry

The plot is based on Money, MS, being far removed from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, but the Greenwood MBI office is the closest police station to Money, about 12 miles away, near the closest Walmart.

The humor appears to lie entirely in the pastiche of redneck accents, bigotry, and buffoonery. The lack of interest in getting any of the details right lines up with this approach. Even the Trump pastiche, the go to joke for many unoriginal comics precisely because it is so easy to do adequately, sounds nothing like the man.

It’s not just facts external to the book that are treated with contempt. We learn of collections of thousands of names of lynched Americans and then we read the list and it’s surprisingly short. Why Everett didn’t bother to do more research and add more names is beyond me.

If the thought of a comedic revenge fantasy that pokes fun at rural Mississippian poverty before covering it in blood, or if the mutilation of corpse genitals or farting seem like funny concepts, I guess this book may have redeeming features that mitigate the terrible prose, lack of plot coherency, and inconsistent tone. For the rest of us, I can’t see the appeal.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2023-03-19

Nothing redeeming about this story or it’s presentation.

This was too difficult to follow, both because the back and forth between characters but also the presentation which was uneven and at times hard to understand. Plus the story itself was simply over the top unbelievable.

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2023-03-27

Wonderful!

This is the first time I read a book from Percival Everett and I am much impressed! As this book was offered to me as an AUDIBLE suscriber I thank you a lot for this gift.
Thanks to you I discovered this great author.
As I hate racism and xenophobia I love reading anti-racists books and this one is a real pearl!
The mamma Z character for instance is really extremely well portrayed. I also like very much the two black detectives, from the MBI (Mississipi bureau of investigation, Ha Ha Ha!!!) and of course I love Damon and her friend who is a waitress in a restaurant but her name doen't come back right now in my memory.
I cannot talk about all that I liked because it would be re-writing the book itself and I'd be accused of plagiarism!
Some parts made me die of laughing!
Maybe youd'l ike a french translation: here it is:

C'est la première fois que je lis un livre de Percival Everett et je suis très impressionnée ! Comme ce livre m'a été offert en tant que souscripteur AUDIBLE je vous remercie beaucoup pour ce cadeau.
C'est grâce à vous que j'ai découvert ce grand auteur.
Comme je déteste le racisme et la xénophobie j'adore lire des livres antiracistes et celui-ci est une vraie perle !
Le personnage de mamma Z par exemple est vraiment extrêmement bien dépeint. J'aime aussi beaucoup les deux détectives noirs , du MBI (Mississipi bureau of investigation, Ha Ha Ha !!!) et bien sûr j'aime Damon et son amie qui est serveuse dans un restaurant mais son nom ne me revient pas en mémoire pour le moment.
Certains passages m'ont fait mourir de rire !
Je ne peux pas parler de tout ce que j'ai aimé car ce serait réécrire le livre lui-même et je serais accusée de plagiat !

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