Combining fantasy with a sharp look at the 1950’s Jim Crow world this tome is fun to read while also revealing a darker reality. What would it be like to be African-American in the 1950’s? Even in the north. It would mean you could not be served in most restaurants, hotel doors would be closed to you, and even if you were a decorated war veteran, like the main character Atticus Turner, you could still be pulled over and harassed (or worse) by any cop with an attitude sitting along a highway. Atticus and his father, Montrose, have a prickly relationship. The two battled over just about everything, from Montrose’s obsession with his dead wife’s background to Atticus’ reading material. Like many young men, Atticus likes Science Fiction, especially the dark work of H. P. Lovecraft, an obscure author who died in penury in 1937. Montrose points out men of color are not treated well in those stories, why pay someone to insult you? Why spend time with the writings of racists? Nonetheless Atticus likes the stories. So father and son are estranged when Atticus receives a letter from Montrose claiming he had discovered the ancestral roots of Atticus’ mother. By the time Atticus reaches Chicago (using the Safe Negro Travel Guide published by his uncle George), his father is gone missing. Clues lead Atticus to believe his father is at the mansion of Samuel Braithwaite in New England. Accompanied by his uncle George and a childhood friend, Letitia, Atticus heads out to find his father. Getting there is not easy, there are racist cops and strange spirits right out of the stories Atticus and George are fond of reading. Bizarrely, they are expected when they arrive. But all is not well at the Braithwaite mansion, Montrose is held in chains, and a secret cult is itching to use Atticus in some strange ritual. Blending several genres, Matt Ruff had created memorable and likeable characters, with a good story to tell.— Deon Stonehouse
Now an HBO® Series from J.J. Abrams (Executive Producer of Westworld), Misha Green (Creator of Underground) and Jordan Peele (Director of Get Out)
The critically acclaimed cult novelist makes visceral the terrors of life in Jim Crow America and its lingering effects in this brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination that melds historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy.
Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’s ancestors—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.
At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal named the Order of the Ancient Dawn—led by Samuel Braithwhite and his son Caleb—which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his—and the whole Turner clan’s—destruction.
A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two black families, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism—the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.
About the Author
Matt Ruff is the author of The Mirage, Bad Monkeys, Set This House in Order, Fool on the Hill, and Sewer, Gas & Electric. He lives in Seattle.
“Nonstop adventure that includes time-shifting, shape-shifting, and Lovecraft-like horrors ... Ruff, a cult favorite for his mind-bending fiction, vividly portrays racism as a horror worse than anything conceived by Lovecraft in this provocative, chimerical novel”
— Booklist (starred review)
“Another ‘only Matt Ruff could do this’ production. Lovecraft Country takes the unlikeliest of premises and spins it into a funny, fast, exciting and affecting read.”
— Neal Stephenson, New York Times bestselling author of Seveneves and Anathem
“Lovecraft Country is a genre-bending attempt to address the severe problem of race in modern America, skewering the prejudices of older pulp works while maintaining their flavor, but it’s also a compulsively readable horror-fantasy in its own right: timely, terrifying, and hilarious.”
— Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“Lovecraft Country is bound to appeal to any reader who wants to delve into the strangeness of our land’s racial legacy.”
— Seattle Times
“Ruff takes us back to the USA of the 1950s, when racism reigned almost unquestioned, and conflates Lovecraftian tropes with piercing dissections of ethics and morals and inequality, thereby confronting Lovecraft’s now well-known prejudices through the lens of Ruff’s own brilliant imagination and artistry.”
— Barnes & Noble Review
“Lovecraft Country rubs the pervasive, eldritch dread of Lovecraft’s universe against the very real, historical dread of Jim Crow America and sparks fly. . . . Ruff renders a very high-concept, imaginary world with such vividness that you can’t help but feel it’s disturbingly real.”
— Christopher Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Lamb and A Dirty Job
“Ruff shows with great cleverness how it’s possible for a group of victims to appropriate the very methods used to victimize them, master those methods, and bend them to serve their own purposes.”
“I’ve heard amazing things about Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, and on the strength of his previous books, I’m inclined to expect greatness from him.”
— Charlie Jane Anders, The Amazon Book Review
“I enjoyed every ounce of Ruff’s book.”
“…this newer book rewards patience, and nowhere more so than in the passages where it heartbreakingly weaves Hippolyta into the actual events that surrounded Pluto’s discovery and naming. Once Ruff took me there, I would’ve followed him anywhere in Lovecraft Country.”
— Seattle Review of Books