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NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME, NPR, THE SEATTLE TIMES, ELLE, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, AND OPRAH DAILY
A brilliant, action-packed reimagining of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, both harrowing and ferociously funny, told from the enslaved Jim's point of view • From the “literary icon” (Oprah Daily) and Pulitzer Prize Finalist whose novel Erasure is the basis for Cord Jefferson’s critically acclaimed film American Fiction
"If you liked Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver, read James, by Percival Everett" —The Washington Post
When the enslaved Jim overhears that he is about to be sold to a man in New Orleans, separated from his wife and daughter forever, he decides to hide on nearby Jackson Island until he can formulate a plan. Meanwhile, Huck Finn has faked his own death to escape his violent father, recently returned to town. As all readers of American literature know, thus begins the dangerous and transcendent journey by raft down the Mississippi River toward the elusive and too-often-unreliable promise of the Free States and beyond.
While many narrative set pieces of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remain in place (floods and storms, stumbling across both unexpected death and unexpected treasure in the myriad stopping points along the river’s banks, encountering the scam artists posing as the Duke and Dauphin…), Jim’s agency, intelligence and compassion are shown in a radically new light.
Brimming with the electrifying humor and lacerating observations that have made Everett a “literary icon” (Oprah Daily), and one of the most decorated writers of our lifetime, James is destined to be a major publishing event and a cornerstone of twenty-first century American literature.
About the Author
PERCIVAL EVERETT is a Distinguished Professor of English at USC. His most recent books include Dr. No (finalist for the NBCC Award for Fiction and winner of the PEN/ Jean Stein Book Award), The Trees (finalist for the Booker Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction), Telephone (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), So Much Blue, Erasure, and I Am Not Sidney Poitier. He has received the NBCC Ivan Sandrof Life Achievement Award and The Windham Campbell Prize from Yale University. American Fiction, the feature film based on his novel Erasure, was released in 2023. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the writer Danzy Senna, and their children
"We may not be meeting Jim for the first time, but we’re introduced to him in a bold new way."
"In an astounding riposte, the much-lauded Everett (Dr. No, 2022) rewrites [Huck Finn] as a liberation narrative, told from Jim (or rather James’) point of view...An absolutely essential read."
—Booklist (Starred Review)
"The audacious and prolific Everett dives into the very heart of Twain’s epochal odyssey...One of the noblest characters in American literature gets a novel worthy of him."
—Kirkus (Starred Review)
“Ingenious … Jim’s wrenching odyssey concludes with remarkable revelations, violent showdowns, and insightful meditations on literature and philosophy. Everett has outdone himself.”
—Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
"James is funny and horrifying, brilliant and riveting. In telling the story of Jim instead of Huckleberry Finn, Percival Everett delivers a powerful, necessary corrective to both literature and history. I found myself cheering both the writer and his hero. Who should read this book? Every single person in the country.”
"Percival Everett is a giant of American letters, and James is a canon-shatteringly great book. Unforgiving and compassionate, beautiful and brutal, a tragedy and a farce, this brilliant novel rewrites literary history to let us hear the voices it has long suppressed.”
—Hernan Diaz, author of Trust
“This is a brilliant, accessible, and very necessary companion to Huckleberry Finn.”
—Dave Eggers, author of The Eyes and the Impossible
“James is a masterpiece. I read it late this summer, and I have already recommended it to enough people to put it on the bestseller lists, in the classrooms, libraries, book clubs and hands in which it so rightly belongs.”
“Percival Everett is a genre.”
“Pure brilliance. Funny, wise, gracious; this may be Everett's best book yet.”
“Percival Everett is an audacious, beguiling American master, whose wild trajectory has reached astonishing highs in the past decade. Now comes James, which enlists and devours not only Mark Twain’s novel but aspects of Melville, Ellison, and even Kafka to makes an irrevocable intervention into the canon. Everett is simply playing this game at a higher level, and it is the most serious game imaginable.”