Shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. A violent history refuses to be buried in Percival Everett’s striking novel, which combines an unnerving murder mystery with a powerful condemnation of racism and police violence.

Something strange is afoot in Money, Mississippi. A series of brutal murders are eerily linked by the presence at each crime scene of a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till, a young black boy lynched in the same town 65 years before.

The investigating detectives soon discover that uncannily similar murders are taking place all over the country. As the bodies pile up, the detectives seek answers from a local root doctor, who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years…

The Trees was one of the six books shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize, announced on September 6.

The Booker Prize 2022
Published by
Influx Press
Publication date

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Percival Everett

Percival Everett

About the Author

Percival Everett is the author of over 30 books since his debut, Suder, was released in 1983.
More about Percival Everett

Percival Everett on The Trees

‘Of course, any consideration for an award feels good and it’s flattering to be put in such good company, but I don’t think any of us write with an award in mind. I know I don’t. No award will make my work better. It will, of course, make it more visible, and that would be great.’

Read the full interview here.

Percival Everett

What the judges said

‘Part southern noir, part something else entirely, The Trees is a dance of death with jokes – horrifying and howlingly funny – that asks questions about history and justice and allows not a single easy answer.’


What the critics said

Jake Arnott, The Guardian

‘Everett’s latest work, The Trees, now longlisted for the Booker prize, is a harsher, more unmediated satire, a fast-paced comedy with elements of crime and horror that directly addresses racism in a boldly shocking manner.’

Houman Barekat, Literary Review

‘Percival Everett’s The Trees is a strange beast. Part police procedural, part black comedy, the novel is both irreverently silly and deadly serious…The novel’s brisk narration and unusual register – an arrestingly perverse blend of playfulness and earnest moral purpose – make for a refreshing antidote to the po-faced didacticism that lets down so many contemporary novels of the politically conscientious sort.’

Sandeep Sandhu, Cleveland Review of Books

‘The first thing to say about Percival Everett’s latest effort, The Trees: A Novel, is that it’s funny. Laugh-out-loud, make-people-look-at-you-weird-on-public-transport funny. Everett covers everything from slapstick to wordplay to the sort of macabre humor infantrymen would blush at, a feat that becomes even more impressive when considering The Trees is about a series of grisly murders related to America’s long, horrifying history (and present) of lynching people of color.’

Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times

‘In The Trees, Everett’s enormous talent for wordplay – the kind that provokes laughter and the kind that gut-punches – is at its peak. He leans on the language of outrage and hyperbole to provoke reactions a history book could never elicit.’

Annie Kapur, Geeks

‘Percival Everett is a master in dialogue, description, storytelling and more. He is a brilliant example of what it means to be a novelist and with his book The Trees, he only makes that ever clearer with his dark comedy, his Three-Billboards-esque-ideas and his brilliant writing that could make for an amazing Coen Brothers or Paul Thomas Anderson film someday. It would be a damn shame if it wasn’t. A third-person narrative, The Trees initially has no obvious links to its title until you start digging below the surface. It has a deeper meaning that you won’t realise until you get a little bit into the book. I love this novel for its depiction of several storylines all at once, but more importantly so, its depiction of the idea of racist stereotypes.’

The Trees by Percival Everett

A page-turner with a sharp, provocative edge

— The 2022 judges on The Trees