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3.5  ·  Rating details ·  494 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
A baffling triptych of murder mysteries by the author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier

Ogden Walker, deputy sheriff of a small New Mexico town, is on the trail of an old woman's murderer. But at the crime scene, his are the only footprints leading up to and away from her door. Something is amiss, and even his mother knows it. As other cases pile up, Ogden gives chase, pursuing fl
ebook, 272 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Graywolf Press (first published 2011)
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Lark Benobi
My fourth Percival Everett novel and all I can think is how different each one of them has been, how surprising, how delightfully snookered by this book I'm feeling right now, in the best way possible. A wonderful read.
Carl R.
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know how Percival Everett made it on to recommended reading list, but I downloaded Assumptions and launched into what seemed like a well-done, standard, diverting mystery. I continued to think that’s what I had in my hands right through the first novella-length account of Deputy Ogden Walker’s investigation of various criminal activities in and around Plata, New Mexico. I figured I’d stumbled on to a skilled Tony Hillerman, who actually knew how to create characters and plots instead of ...more
Betsy Robinson
I love Percival Everett's work, but I didn't understand this book. It's three crime stories that don't have connecting tissue except for they all involve Deputy Ogden Walker. The stories borrow and repurpose some material from at least one short story in Half an Inch of Water, except they take place in New Mexico and Colorado instead of Wyoming.

There is a twist at the end, but it didn't feel as if it made sense. No set-up and details in the story conflict with it.

I've looked at some other revie
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: Nation review of Erasure/Assumption
Shelves: mysteries-noir
Assumption is a very different novel in style, voice and ostensible subject than the other Everett novel I recently finished, Erasure: A Novel. It is at least as good, if not better, in my opinion. It's made up of three novella-length stories tied together by the character of Ogden Walker, a deputy sheriff in a rural New Mexico county, and the problem of finding out who we are. (view spoiler)

I really can't talk about the book without spo
Albert Riehle
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Imagine, you're a fish on a hook. You swim away, you feel yourself being reeled in--you get some slack and feel as if you're getting away again. It's a slow, long process and the truth is that no one knows, not the fisherman and not yourself how it will all turn out.

You are the fish. Percival Everett is the fisherman. I won't ruin it for you but I'll tell you this much: the battle is fierce.

Assumption is three separate stories and also one single story at the same time. Look for the clues if y
Charlie Quimby
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ogden Walker is a deputy sheriff in a New Mexico county so remote that if it were real instead of fictional, most westerners never would have heard of a single town. Ogden's averse to carrying a gun, doesn't consider himself much of an investigator and lacks a personal life, unless you count eating at his mother's house or trout fishing with one of his co-workers.

He finds himself entwined with several sets of killings that appear to be linked, but poor cooperation from associated low lifes, plus
Ok, what....was that? At first I thought it was a mystery, just better written. Then that it was undermining certain features of mysteries, the whole idea that a thing can be solved, resolved, explained, which I guess it still kind of is. Then the end happened.
Jason Edwards
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Assumption is three short stories featuring the same setting and characters, and the ending of the third story casts enough of a shadow over the main character as to make you rethink what happened in the first two stories. This last feature, I guess, is what makes this a novel. If you like. Or just call it three stories. Or look to the title and realize Percival Everett is messing with you.

Percival Everett likes to mess with you. Go read Erasure, or American Desert. I normally don't approve of t
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Assumption" starts well. A former MP-turned deputy sheriff in New Mexico, Ogden Walker is a wry, reflective type. He makes fairly interesting company. He's also the only black male within his community, though one of the other deputies--Warren Fragua--is Native American. You learn about them and the place and the people the work with in a leisurely way. It seems like the set up for an interesting book, and the quality of writing is quite high. What looks like a novel is really made up of three ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Checked this one out a long time ago, and have been re-checking it out since then. When I finally picked it up to read it, I read the whole thing in a day. (Insert witty and/or saccharine phrase about how life is sometimes that way. Maybe compare it to a box of chocolates.)

This book is bleak. But not so much that you'd mind. It's Noir, there's murder, there's conspiracy, there's a whole lot of lying. But there's also a general air of country geniality. The guys in the Sheriff's department have a
Kasa Cotugno
It would be hard to review this book without giving away its delicious secrets, so i'll only say it's a wild ride. A rare if not solitary example of noir but with metaphysical elements that keeps the reader guessing. Ogden is a wonderful creation -- attempting to do his job as deputy in a remote New Mexico county while solving baffling incomprehensible crimes as well as the local bigotry. Dialogue that snaps with cinematic reality. Not a little humor that spikes unexpectedly. Liked this one a lo ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Two-thirds really engaging and strong, with great characters and a deadpan, spare narration I enjoyed immensely (as I have in other fiction by Everett). But it fell apart for me at the end, which relied on a clichéd device without complicating it enough to be satisfying or surprising in a way as meaningful (to me, at least) as the story had earned.
Okay, I'm editing my review because I read some more reviews and thought about it a bit and...I still don't know what to really think of it. Damnit, I think I need to re-read this book. Okay, I liked it but it's definitely a head scratcher!
Ben Loory
felt kinda let down at the end. i mean, okay, i get it and everything, but i don't think it actually worked. did make me want to read more percival everett, though, so i guess it worked perfectly on that level.
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Percival Everett is one of the most intriguing novelists writing today. His greatest work, Erasure, is a brilliant send-up of race, media and the publishing world. It's a literary masterpiece featuring a remarkable novel within a novel.

Assumption is a set of three stories about Ogden Walker, a deputy in rural New Mexico. On the surface they are straight ahead mystery tales. Ogden searches for the murderer of an old woman in one, uncovers a deadly prositution ring in another and finally goes out
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody who enjoys an essentially positive view of human nature; this is some pretty fucked-up shit.
Shelves: fiction, 21st-century
I've yet to read a page that Everett has published that I didn't find enthralling (I've read Erasure, Wounded, and I Am Not Sidney Poitier in addition to this one). This book had me just as abjectly addicted as the rest, even if it doesn't seem to have quite the same scope as those other books; it delves somewhat less into social questions, perhaps (or maybe I just lack the imagination to see how it does it?). But it's fascinating how slippery identity gets in these three connecting, deceptively ...more
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess that it's not giving too much away, if I talk about the title. Or maybe it is. I totally forgot about the title while I was reading about three cases being investigated by Deputy Ogden Walker, and then I realized after I finished that I maybe shouldn't have totally ignored the title as clue. Or maybe it was OK to ignore it, because I really enjoyed reading this until the second to the last page, when it really took me off guard and became kind of a shocker. I may have to read it over aga ...more
Paul Secor
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most disturbing of all of the Percival Everett books I've read. Disturbing can sometimes be a good thing.
I never know what to expect when I open one of Mr. Everett's books for the first time, and he always surprises me.
Maya McKenzie
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly one of the best mystery books I have ever met. The twist at the end is KILLER.
If you are seeking a novel with a definitive ending to the story, than expect to become disappointed by Assumption from writer Percival Everett. With bodacious characters and a thrilling narrative, this novel will haunt the reader long after its conclusion.

Assumption is a literary thriller consisting of three interconnecting stories, centering on the main character Ogden Walker. An Army veteran, Ogden serves as a deputy sheriff in New Mexico within the fictional bleak county of Plata. He is the
Craig Werner

Having thought about it for a week, and talked to some folks about it, I'm kicking it up to four stars. Still want to re-read, but I've had enough pointed out to me to be fairly sure Everett was in control of the ending surprise.

Original review follows. Spoiler alert:

Well, *that* was different. For 98% of the book (according to my Kindle gauge), Assumption is an enjoyable mystery featuring a memorable lead character, interesting enough plots, and some great northern New Mexico local color. The
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to find Percival Everett books at ordinary bookstores, but I did find Assumption and quickly bought it since he'd been recommended to me years ago. Everett is considered a genre breaking writer, but from the opening paragraphs of Assumption I assumed this was a noir crime detective novel (a genre I love) since it opens as Everett's protagonist, Deputy Sheriff Ogden Walker, is checking on an old woman living alone who soon turns up dead. Walker is half black, single and an ex-army cop ...more
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What just happened? That's the feeling you will have at the end of this book. You are left confused by what you are read, highly dissatisfied with the wind up and then desperate to figure it all out.

This book is a combination of the noir tales of Elmore Leonard and the frontier whodunit of No Country for Old Men.

The stories in the book seem unrelated and are well written with spare and amusing language (think Pulp Fiction). This book is great...the first I've read from Mr Everett. It won't be
Adrienne Thompson
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The description is very accurate. This book is definitely baffling. Not really sure how I feel about it. I liked it, enjoyed it, like Percival Everett's unique style of writing, but I'm just not sure why I liked this book. It was dark, kind of noir-ish, quirky, interesting, and worth a read. But it was just so very perplexing and maybe that's what I liked about it.

Adrienne Thompson
Author of See Me
Mar 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is really three novellas with the same character and setting. I certainly liked the New Mexico locales and how knowledgeable the author is of it. The stories were nicely woven and intertwined, yet each one ended abruptly with little explanation. I thought that the end of the book went too far into "let's put in an O'Henry ending here and really surprise the reader." I may try reading another book by this author, but it's not high on my list.
Tamika Johnson
I was left turning pages looking for how this book would be tied together. I was majorly disappointed.

Although the stories kept me engaged, the three different scenarios ended abruptly and without closure. This style of writing didn't work for me.
Andrew Neal
I liked the characters, the setting, and the overall meaning beneath the words. The jarring endings almost killed it for me, though. That's right: endings. It's not a novel. It's three short stories, all of which end very, very, very abrup
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really fond of this work, though a good portion of the first of these stories was lifted, almost word for word, from a previous collection of his short stories. I can't remember if it was big picture or damned if I do, either way it led to an uneven feel for me.
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Prob 4.5 stars.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was totally puzzled by the conclusion of this loose novel, until I re-examined my assumptions. This is a very challenging and very intelligent novel.
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Percival L. Everett (born 1956) is an American writer and Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

There might not be a more fertile mind in American fiction today than Everett’s. In 22 years, he has written 19 books, including a farcical Western, a savage satire of the publishing industry, a children’s story spoofing counting books, retellings of the Greek myths
More about Percival Everett...

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