Thoughts by Percival Everett, 2020, 224 pages

Challenge: TOB 
Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback / Indie Bookstore Online Purchase
 Why I read this now:  Last up IN HOUSE

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A father grieves his only child who has a terminal illness. He is an academic, as is his wife. He pursues a mystery rescue mission as an adventure, as a diversion to his grief.

Borrowing Ruthiella‘s description from gr:

Zach Wells is a tenured geology professor with a secure, if uneventful, life. That security breaks down, however, when his pre-teen daughter starts having health problems. Meanwhile, he receives what he thinks might be a cry for help from an enslaved migrant worker. Wells is frustrated and eventually obsessed with his ability and inability to even make a dent in the wrongness of our world, a system and society which may be irredeemably broken.

THOUGHTS: Well. The rumor on the street is that this book might have 3 different endings. I don’t even know when/where I read that? discovered that?  am assuming such? If I wasn’t “clued-in”, I would have just stumbled upon this book and… enjoyed it. Going on with the rest of my life not knowing that some found the book exasperating and abrupt.  Am I imagining this?!   gr doesn’t mention.

I am OK with the ending. . . . SPOILER! I have, in the past, written a separate page to ‘hide’ spoilerish thoughts. Sometimes I have change font color to write which requires the reader to hover/highlight the words to make visible. Yes, let’s do that:

In my ending, our MC manages to rescue 11 women held captive in the wilds of New Mexico and gets them safely to the Mexican cop across the border. The end.

I like Everett’s writing. His characters always seem dare-I-say boring, and yet, appealing? The writing has strength. I like his sentences, his observations, how he ‘puts things’. 

On the other hand, I was annoyed at all the Spanish I don’t know, all the German I didn’t know, all the Latin tossed in. Definitely should have eBook’d this one so I didn’t have to fumble-define and translate so much. (I have serious issues with the clumsiness of the translate app I use. Whatever)

RATING:   Four slices of pie. I was waiting for the pie reference — there happen to be  “scenes in a diner” so OF COURSE it had to have a pie reference!  We just don’t know what kind of pie…

“When they were gone, DeLois came to my table with a free piece of pie, slid it in front of me.”




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6 thoughts on “Telephone

  1. I’m kind of interested in this one, but nothing I read about it makes me think it’s very compelling, so does the fact that there are different endings matter very much?

  2. I gave in and ended up ordering this from my local bookstore and plan to start it tonight. The bookstore actually sent me an extra copy by accident, so maybe I’ll have two different endings! Will come back and compare to your spoiler-hidden text once I’m done.

      1. The first (red logo) version I read had the same ending as yours, and the other (blue logo) was almost the same, but with a shooting and hospital. I like the red one better.

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