Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge
by Bryan Harvey

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'
by Bryan Harvey

A world of child soldiers & cowboys

A world of child soldiers & cowboys
by Bryan Harvey

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
by Bryan Harvey

Swimming in Percival Everett's 'Half an Inch of Water'

November 24, 2015


Read a couple books by Percival Everett and it doesn’t take long to realize the breadth of his talent. Where words can go he has carved initials or tagged the boxcars. He is a hobo riding the genres. A chameleon with a typewriter. He types in and out of scenes. He is present and he is not. The books are his and someone else’s.

After having read I am Not Sidney Poitier (2009) and Percival Everett by Virgil Russell (2013), I thought I knew some of what to expect from Everett. I thought I knew the lengths of his talent and the depths of his influences. I thought I had a map. Turns out I didn’t know shit.

I picked up his 2015 short story collection Half an Inch of Water recently and felt for much of it I was drowning. Where were the tricks and indecencies? Where was the sarcasm dripping on every page? 

Instead, Everett (or the Everett I thought I knew) had ventured into the Western wilds and discovered a new kind of real. A real real. And the monster of mimesis had swallowed up the author I knew and spit him out as something unrecognizable and new and yet that's what made him so wholly himself..

What I mean to say is that perhaps this escape into genre is simply another deception. Like how his character Not Sidney escapes into a South that is both cinematic and historical, the characters in this new batch of stories ride into a landscape that obeys both legend and map; mysticism and geography in equal parts. And, after having made himself so present in Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Everett now plays evermore the author by disappearing the self into the style and territory of the genre. 

So well done, Mr. Everett, Mr. Russell, Not Sidney, whoever wrote this! 

And, come to think of it, there are those horse doctor passages in Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, not to mention that even an Everett yawning in genre cannot help but to wink at the Western’s boundaries. “A High Lake” and “Liquid Glass” both flirt with the ingredients of either magical realism or Gothic Romanticism or something in between, which is where Percival Everett almost always seems to find himself: in a space that cannot be named and is therefore entirely unpredictable even when it gestures towards convention.


Bryan Harvey tweets about sports and literature @LawnChairBoys. Here and there his opinions are half-formed.  

0 comments:

Post a Comment

 

© 2008-2010 ·The Lawn Chair Boys by TNB