I made this video as part of the Authors Guild's initiative, #SupportAuthors, to promote new books in the age quarantine.
The websites mentioned are Graywolf Press's page for Percival Everett's new book Telephone
and the wonderful new bookshop.org that supports independent bookstores--here is their page for the book: bookshop.org.
Now that I have just finished this magnificent book, my review:
How on earth do you review a book that is as personal, as tender, and as unnamable as your own soul? Reading Percival Everett, and this new novel in particular, is like entering the territory where all life comes from. I had such a hit of this when I first began the book that I literally passed out. In yoga there are names for this. Suffice it to say that it's when your consciousness is overwhelmed, stretched beyond its normal capacity.
Once I came to, all my subsequent reading pauses were voluntary—due to either my need to process the heartbreak of love and life and the fact that no matter how much you love, you can't save anyone and everyone will die, or my futile attempt to keep this book going, delay its ending.
This book rips your heart out.
Per this New York Times article, there are three different versions. Before reading this edition, like other diehard fans, I was ready to go on a quest, campaigning a bookstore to campaign its distributor to search for the three different covers, ensuring I get a copy of the other two. But having read this one (the difference is detectable in the direction of the compass on the top right of the cover; I have the one that points northeast), I cannot imagine a more perfect book, and I don't think I want to read another version.
Three years ago, I first met Percival Everett through his last published, So Much Blue, and my brief review equally applies here:
When I finished the last page of this gorgeous novel, I held the paperback against my heart, rocked, cried, and moaned, "Oh." That's about all you need to know.
In the interim between So Much Blue and this new book, I have read 18 of his 30 books, so I feel as if I know the man. And I love him.
Creative Capital supported this 3-book project and just published a wonderful interview with Everett. I love and, as a writer, share his respect for readers. And because of the enormity of my experience reading this book, my sense is that the book I received is very personally the one I was meant to read.