‘Dr. No’ By Percival Everett: Bond Upended

by Charlie Barton

A black, autistic mathematician, Wala Kitu is not James Bond—but he is the hero of Percival Everett’s anti-Bond, Bond novel, Dr. No (262 pages; Graywolf Press). The book, now a National Book Critics Circle award finalist, is very much a spy thriller—filled with sports cars, hench-people, secret submarines, and hidden shark traps—even though Everett radically subverts the classic 007 formula. Wala’s love interest is another autistic mathematician, Eigen Victor, a specialist in topology with a tendency to state the obvious. And the nefarious super-villain is John Sill, a self-made Black billionaire whose sole purpose is to destroy America, to exact […]

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‘Telephone’ by Percival Everett: The Futility of Play

by Michelle Latiolais

One can read Percival Everett’s latest novel entirely ignorant of why it is titled Telephone (232 pages; Graywolf Press), as I did, or one can be in the know. Supposedly there is an A, B, and C version, and thus the title. I have read the B version, and that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Discrepancies may occur, or indeed will occur, and like those dinner parties in which everyone argues over whether the superior novel is Mrs. Bridge or Mr. Bridge, now we can convene to argue our preferred version of Telephone, except I think this may […]

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