Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 135: Suder by Percival Everett

by | Feb 16, 2024 | 2024 Book Reviews, Black History Month, Book Reviews, Marion's Reading Life Blog, Percival Everett, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

Percival Everett has quickly joined my favorite author’s list, which includes Octavia Butler, Jonathan Carroll, Charles de Lint, Guy Gavriel Kay, Haruki Murakami, & Gene Wolfe. Having read multiple novels by these authors, I must say that Everett has ventured into similar status.

Suder is my third Everett novel following the excellent Erasure (now a movie as American Fiction) and the very good, So Much Blue. Everett’s blend of satire, absurdity, and poignant family drama has drawn me in as a reader. He has expanded the range of African American literature that is quite refreshing.

This is the story of Craig Suder, the third baseman of the Seattle Mariners. He is going through a serious hitting slump and his baseball career is in jeopardy. Additionally, he is experiencing difficulties with intimacy in his marriage to Thelma. Suder is going through the storm of life and leaves it all behind to travel to Oregon.

Along the way, someone gifts Suder with an elephant that becomes his pet, he inherits a nine-year-old girl who ran away from her abusive parents, and he is holding a large sum of cash for an acquaintance. Furthermore, he recalls his mentally ill mother and the way she deteriorated in front of him when he was young. On the surface, it does not seem like all these elements would coalesce into a story, but Everett pulls it off. I will admit that I wanted more of the connection between Suder and his wife and the relationship did not feel fully developed in the novel.

Suder, Percival Everett’s debut novel, establishes the foundation for his satirical and absurdist writing style, which is now receiving well-deserved recognition. I am delighted that Everett is getting his flowers. He has earned it. I have really enjoyed his work so far and am eager to read more of his oeuvre.


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