Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lovecraft Country

Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country is an excellently done take on a Lovecraftian story of scheming sorcerers told from an outsider perspective. It also neatly parallels the otherworldly horror of the Cthulhu mythos with the terribly real-world horrors of Jim Crow era racism in the US. It even manages to convey a bit of the disconnected flow of 30's pulp fiction, with each section of the novel being told from the perspective of a different member of an African-American extended family. It's the 1950s, and Atticus Turner, a veteran of World War II, finds a cryptic message from his uncle, and with his uncle and a friend travels up into the backwoods of New England to find him. This gets him and the extended family tangled up in the affairs of sorcerers, and the rest of the story details how they try to extract themselves from this mess. But the real horror is the routine danger of being black in a country of grinding and omnipresent racism. It's a very well done novel, and delivers its message deftly and effectively.

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