What makes a masterpiece? In a career as prolific, eclectic and adventurous as Percival Everett's, his body of work the very definition of singularity, it may even be foolish to hint one book is superior to another. And while it might be brazen to assert So Much Blue may be that magnum opus, it is an accusation i gleefully declare. A blissfully precise pen firmly draws the reader into the life of Kevin Pace in his quest for absolution and closure and the novel's three timelines kept deftly aloft by Everett's signature humor and nuanced storytelling.— From Wesley
Middle-aged painter Kevin Pace is a philandering husband and a mediocre father. He's also keeping some pretty hefty secrets. He shouldn't be a likeable guy, and yet he really is. Sure, he might be cheating on his wife, but his complete bafflement at the situation somehow charms. I walked away giddy, and half in love with this flawed, deeply feeling, oblivious, good and caring man. We get these glimpses of unlikely charm as Kevin recalls three seminal events from his life; his current day home life, an affair in Paris about 10 years back, and a mysterious trek to El Salvador from his early adulthood. Through these experiences he explores the nature of family and friendship, love and art and we uncover the complexities of guilt, loyalty, and connection. And then there's the mysterious and enormous painting done entirely in shades of blue. His life's work, and Kevin hasn't shown it to anyone. Not his best friend, not his children, not his wife. Percival Everett's skill and cleverness in juggling each piece of this tangled narrative leaves you racing for the end. Can he really pull it off? Don't worry, he doesn't disappoint.— From Erin
A new high point for a master novelist, an emotionally charged reckoning with art, marriage, and the past
Kevin Pace is working on a painting that he won't allow anyone to see: not his children; not his best friend, Richard; not even his wife, Linda. The painting is a canvas of twelve feet by twenty-one feet (and three inches) that is covered entirely in shades of blue. It may be his masterpiece or it may not; he doesn't know or, more accurately, doesn't care.
What Kevin does care about are the events of the past. Ten years ago he had an affair with a young watercolorist in Paris. Kevin relates this event with a dispassionate air, even a bit of puzzlement. It's not clear to him why he had the affair, but he can't let it go. In the more distant past of the late seventies, Kevin and Richard traveled to El Salvador on the verge of war to retrieve Richard's drug-dealing brother, who had gone missing without explanation. As the events of the past intersect with the present, Kevin struggles to justify the sacrifices he's made for his art and the secrets he's kept from his wife.
So Much Blue features Percival Everett at his best, and his deadpan humor and insightful commentary about the artistic life culminate in a brilliantly readable new novel.