Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God's Country by Percival Everett

Percival Everett is an American national treasure. He has to be one of the most prolific and best authors you have never heard of. Several years ago I “discovered” him on the shelves of my local bookstore, and ever after have wondered why it took me so long to find him. Every book he writes is different from the one before, and he writes a lot. He is funny, inventive, real, clear, and looks truth hard in the face. I can’t figure out why books of his aren’t on every bookshelf in America. With his repertoire, everyone is bound to find one that makes them sit back in wonder at what he was able to accomplish with words alone.

This book is a western dressed as farce. But nothing is ever strictly one thing or another in Everett’s books, and as always, there is a deep red vein of truth running through it. Our narrator, Marder, runs into Colonel Custer who gives us a piece of his thinking:
”I suppose you’re all too familiar with the heinous activities of one Big Elk…That Indian’s scalp will be the crowning feather in my cap. The heathen has no respect for the ownership of land. I mean, we take it and they want it back, keep coming back. Hunting lands, they say. Fishing waters, they say. That’s not it, though. I know why…I’ll tell you why. To confuse me. To confuse us. To make us question ourselves, our values. We must have more land than we need. It’s essential to our maintaining a balance between greed and hypocrisy, between unhealthy subsistence and needless, uncontrolled growth…”

This is a book for a time when you are sunk in the absurdity of daily life and you seek affirmation, relief, companionship. But it will nudge you as well, for it will remind you that there are good people out there. We just have to be sure not to kill them all off.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores


  1. Whoa - best author I have never heard of? You are right, I do not know of him. Will look for something!

    1. Care, try Wounded, if you can find it. That was the one that left me scratching my head in wonder that I'd never heard of this guy.