One of our recommended books is Dr. No by Percival Everett

DR. NO


The protagonist of Percival Everett’s puckish new novel is a brilliant professor of mathematics who goes by Wala Kitu. (Wala, he explains, means “nothing” in Tagalog, and Kitu is Swahili for “nothing.”) He is an expert on nothing. That is to say, he is an expert, and his area of study is nothing, and he does nothing about it. This makes him the perfect partner for the aspiring villain John Sill, who wants to break into Fort Knox to steal, well, not gold bars but a shoebox containing nothing. Once he controls nothing he’ll proceed with a dastardly plan to turn a Massachusetts town into nothing.

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The protagonist of Percival Everett’s puckish new novel is a brilliant professor of mathematics who goes by Wala Kitu. (Wala, he explains, means “nothing” in Tagalog, and Kitu is Swahili for “nothing.”) He is an expert on nothing. That is to say, he is an expert, and his area of study is nothing, and he does nothing about it. This makes him the perfect partner for the aspiring villain John Sill, who wants to break into Fort Knox to steal, well, not gold bars but a shoebox containing nothing. Once he controls nothing he’ll proceed with a dastardly plan to turn a Massachusetts town into nothing. Or so he thinks.

With the help of the brainy and brainwashed astrophysicist-turned-henchwoman Eigen Vector, our professor tries to foil the villain while remaining in his employ. In the process, Wala Kitu learns that Sill’s desire to become a literal Bond villain originated in some real all-American villainy related to the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. As Sill says, “Professor, think of it this way. This country has never given anything to us and it never will. We have given everything to it. I think it’s time we gave nothing back.”

Dr. No is a caper with teeth, a wildly mischievous novel from one of our most inventive, provocative, and productive writers. That it is about nothing isn’t to say that it’s not about anything. In fact, it’s about villains. Bond villains. And that’s not nothing.

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  • Graywolf Press
  • Hardcover
  • November 2022
  • 232 Pages
  • 9781644452080

Buy the Book

$16.00

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About Percival Everett

Percival Everett is the author of more than thirty books, most recently The Trees and Telephone, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Praise

“Immensely enjoyable. . . . Throughout, Everett boldly makes a farce out of real-world nightmares, and the rapid-fire pacing leaves readers little time to blink. Satire doesn’t get much sharper or funnier than this.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Everett continues to be an endlessly inventive, genre-devouring creator of thoughtful, tender, provocative, and absolutely unpredictable literary wonders.”—Booklist, starred review

“The preeminent satirist delivers a deadpan hilarious send up of poisonous contemporary racism and the international espionage genre. . . . It’s absurd and utterly brilliant.”Oprah Daily, “Best Books of Fall”

“It is hard to write or even think about his work without sounding like an inferior edition of Percival Everett. . . . One way to evaluate an artist is to observe the quantity and quality of misinterpretation his work begets. By this measure Everett ranks very highly. ‘Damn it, I don’t understand it, but I love it,’ mutters one of the characters, regarding Sill’s weapon of nothingness. Same.”—Molly Young, New York Times Book Review

“Everett brings his mordant wit, philosophic inclinations, and narrative mischief to the suspense genre. . . . A good place to begin finding out why Everett has such a devoted cult.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review