|FABER & FABER|
the guardian Fri 05 September 2008
Everett's previous protagonists - disillusioned professors, intellectual babies, walking corpses - have rarely fitted neatly into their surroundings. Horse trainer John Hunt, a black man doing a stereotypically white man's job in the wilds of Wyoming, comes close, enjoying easy banter with his neighbours and a spiritual connection with his animals and the land. Everett's descriptions of the Red Desert and the mechanics of horseriding are wonderfully involving, and his Midwest a compelling place which juxtaposes remote caves with Wal-Mart and community spirit with half-hidden bigotry. Events come to a head when (in an echo of a 1998 Wyoming murder) a gay man is found with his throat slit. Everett's potent narrative has soon wound itself into a tight, painful ball, dread and fear counterpointed by a growing romance between Hunt and a nearby spinster. Wounded is a fine, understated book: the pithy dialogue and touching family dynamics will have you smiling, but it is Everett's unsettling, fiercely tangled moral issues that linger in the mind.
the observer Sat 23 August 2008
John Hunt, the black protagonist of Percival Everett's trenchant novel about racism and homophobia in Wyoming, is not your typical cowboy. Before setting up as a horse trainer he went to prep school in New Hampshire and studied art history at Berkeley, which is why he has an original Paul Klee and a Kandinsky hanging on the wall of his ranch house. Just after a local gay man is murdered, the son of one of Hunt's university pals arrives in the area with his boyfriend. As the characters face local hostility, Everett melds his gripping western whodunnit into a grisly, dramatic and unsparing inquiry into contemporary prejudice. When Hunt reads in the paper that the gay man's murder is 'symptomatic of some rural or Western disease of intolerance', he responds simply: 'Yes, it's called America.'