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Lovecraft Country

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  31,662 ratings  ·  4,136 reviews
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, twenty-two year old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road tr
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published February 16th 2016 by Harper
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Kasey Ellison This is very much so how it was. Matt modeled part of this book after a real guide. The guide was called "The Negro Motorist Green Book", which helped…moreThis is very much so how it was. Matt modeled part of this book after a real guide. The guide was called "The Negro Motorist Green Book", which helped Black motorist/travelers navigate the entire United States and stay safe. This helped them avoid "Sundown Towns" (towns where it was not safe for Black people to be after sundown i.e. due to lynching, violence etc.). Racism did not care (and still doesn't ) care about county/state lines it lives inside people so it can exist anywhere. New England, is actually one of the places to this day that is known for having race issues (look up some history on Boston). (less)

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, gothic
***Now a TV series on HBO!***

”The sphere suddenly burst open like an orange turning inside out, dark rind splitting to reveal a wriggling white pulp. Dozens of pale tentacles shot out, wrapping around the man’s limbs, torso, neck, and head, and yanking him forward to be swallowed whole before he could cry out.”

There you are, Mr. Lovecraft.

 photo Lovecraft_zpsathrov0c.jpg
I see you trying to slide out of the frame.

Okay, I picked this book up expecting the pages to be brimming with all those fascinating creatures that came f
Dan Schwent
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dan by: Kdawg91
Lovecraft Country is a collection of inter-connected stories about an extended African American family in the mid to late 1940's and their encounters with things not of this world, notably sorcerers, a gateway to another world, and a haunted house.

Holy. Shit. Lovecraft Country is an early front-runner for the best book I've read in 2016. Here's how it all went down.

Lovecraft Country is the story of the Green/Turner family, an African American family trying to make ends meet in the Jim Crow era.
May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
❝ From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.❞
-------- H. P. Lovecraft-------

Do you know what the irony here is?

Despite the supernatural elements like black magic, haunted houses, mysterious coven and nameless realms which populate this tale, the real horrors that haunt these pages are the injustices of Jim Crow era; The blind racism which raged through Uncle Sam like a wildfire consuming lives, proving once again that It's not the ghosts you need to fear, but the man himself.
Bill Kerwin
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it

This is a difficult book for me to review. I think I love it in spite of itself. Or maybe I love it in spite of stuffy old me.

You see, if I filled out a checklist of what I like in a novel, Lovecraft Country wouldn’t get many checks. The prose itself isn’t much (no spare elegance, no stylistic flourishes); the characters, though amiable, lack depth and definition; the plot is rambling, episodic, and not all that interesting in itself; and, although it’s got the name Lovecraft in the title, the s
Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After becoming addicted to the tv series, I couldn’t help myself and purchased the book to see how the book’s adaptation improved.

Of course the original book is a little different from the HBO adaptation. It is a great mash up of pulp fiction-science fiction-horror-dark comedy- thriller-action genres with realistic, dark criticism of racism: a bunch of stories with different characters of Turner family encounter with the same epic villain Caleb Braithwaite.

The stories take place at mid to late
Johann (jobis89)
“But stories are like people, Atticus. Loving them doesn't make them perfect. You try to cherish their virtues and overlook their flaws. The flaws are still there, though.”

Lovecraft Country is a perfect example of how expectations can really dampen a reading experience. My expectation was a Lovecraftian novel that also delved into and explored Lovecraft’s despicable racism, but what I got instead was a series of loosely connected stories that didn’t tick any real Lovecraftian boxes. Lovecraft re
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Derus
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Rating: 4* of five

AUGUST 2020 NEWS The Jordan Peele-led series premieres on HBO tomorrow, 16 August 2020!

MARCH 2020 NEWS Author Ruff will have a Reddit AMA on the 27th!

MAY 2018 NEWS The mooted HBO series picks up steam to my joy. What a great thing this *could* be, the richness and beauty of the story well-served by the episodic treatment...but of course there's the "nothing good is ever guaranteed" gnome gnawing my hope-bone....

MAY 2017 NEWS The book wil
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2010s, reviewed
Forgive me for going with an obvious joke, but to re-phrase a Hunter S. Thompson quote:

"We can't stop here! This is Lovecraft Country!"

In this case, what is Lovecraft Country? Well, from a typical trope standpoint, Lovecraft Country is a twisted version of rural New England, where a good portion of author H. P. Lovecraft's fiction took place. It's a place where monsters lurked, where horror reigns supreme, where the world is uncaring and indifferent to your suffering.

In other words, very much l
Larry H
I'm between 2.5 and 3 stars, but I rounded up because I'm a Matt Ruff fan from way back.

Yeah, Tina, that's how I felt after reading this book. This was one crazy, creative, confusing ride!!

In 1954, the U.S. was still deep in the throes of segregation and blatant racism. When Korean War veteran Atticus Turner finds out his estranged father Montrose has gone missing, accompanying a young, confident-looking white man to a small town in New England, Atticus knows he must find him and see what troub
This book hurt me even more this time than it did when I first read it three years ago. In a good, necessary way. It is the kind of speculative fiction work that does an incredible job of changing a reader's perspective, that makes them think about things in an entirely different way, and shines a light on things you didn't know you needed to see.

Maybe it's even more affective this time around because I have read a ton of James Baldwin and read up on sundown towns and the Tulsa massacre since my
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
H.P. Lovecraft, like many of his time (1890-1937) was by today’s standards, a racist.

His ideas about “inferior” races comes across in many of his stories in varying degrees. Most readers of his work cite The Horror at Red Hook as the low point of this element of his canon. That paranoid and prejudiced story reveals in Lovecraft a viewpoint of “us and them” that goes beyond isolationist philosophy and may shed light on motives for the eldritch, dark themes of his writing.

Many writers since, thoug
Jessica Sullivan
Being a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction means also having to face the uncomfortable truth that Lovecraft the man was an unabashed racist and xenophobe. Needless to say, I was thrilled to come across Lovecraft Country, which promised to confront this head on, employing Lovecraftian tropes as a vehicle for examining race and racism in 1950s America.

It’s such an exciting premise, but it just didn’t deliver in quite the way that I had hoped. The story follows 22-year-old Atticus Turner and his famil
Auntie Terror
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-urban
There are many things that took me by surprise with this book, first and foremost: the style of story-telling.
I had expected a classical novel with a more or less (after all, this is meant to be "Lovecraftian") straight line towards a catastrophe. What I read was a collection of Lovecraft-inspired short stories which supplied little dots you could connect to form a central story. Some of these stories played out longer and in more (unimportant) detail than would have been necessary, I feel. Also
May 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
Okay, I loved "The Mirage" so much that I bought this book in hardback and was really looking forward to it. The fact that this novel had received almost unanimous praise made me more excited and it is obviously Ruff reacting to the controversy over a bust of Lovecraft being given at the World Fantasy Awards, even to writers of color, despite the fact that Lovecraft was a vile racist who even had people in his life, including his wife, break ties with him over his racism in the 1920s. I was disa ...more
Em Lost In Books
Not scary enough. Take into account the running theme of racism throughout the book, it diluted my enjoyment of this supposed horror.
Jenny Lawson
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrifying, poignant, funny, infuriating. A strange combination that works.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Lovecraft Country was not what I expected, but it was a good kind of different. I’ve never read Matt Ruff before and only know of him by his reputation of being a cult novelist, and perhaps I thought I was going to be in for a pulpy horror read, considering the title and the cover. It turned out to be all that, plus a lot more substance.

Told in a series of interconnected short stories that form an overall bigger narrative,
Montzalee Wittmann
This book is certainly a great! Someday a classic!

Lovecraft County by Matt Ruff is set in the time of the Jim Crow deepest times. We follow a couple of black families and through their adventures we as readers experience the horrors of that time. There is magic, spells, warlocks, and more included which make up most of the adventure. Other adventures have horrors of the redneck kind. Mixing the monsters of both worlds, and beyond, really works! This author made it a page turner, unforgettable, a
An absolutely visceral description of experienced racism, and a powerful allegory of institutional racism in the US, set in first half of the 20th century US. Also, a most impressive creative rendering and inversion of H. P. Lovecraft's (racist & misogynist) work.

Lovecraft Country blew me away. I can't remember the last time I read a book that was so complex and so ... connected-each theme, each arc, each character so compelling in their own right, but also so clearly coherent and related to ot
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I have heard Lovecraft Country mentioned quite often recently, I think in connection to the impending TV series adaptation. The title alone intrigued me because I enjoy Lovecraft when he is at his best (at his worst, not so much) as my long-winded review of The Best of H.P. Lovecraft will attest. I thought Lovecraft Country is going to be a Lovecraft pastiche of some kind, with Cthulhu and friends driving people insane just by giving them a funny look. I peeked at the synopsis and I was surpri ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
What a great premise! Matt Ruff is on to something that's definitely needed. But this isn't it (or at least what I was hoping for; admittedly I came at this with high hopes - not very Lovecraftian!). What we needed was a Lovecraftian story that directly takes on and subverts that author's vehemently racist views - a kind of magical ritual to exorcise the genre of the most troubling element of Lovecraft's fiction (or at least call forth its tentacled mass for an autopsy). What we get is a book th ...more
Craig Laurance
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Werewolves don’t scare me. Neither do the walking dead (zombies), Voldemort, body-snatchers, Chuckie, Jason or Freddie.

People who have lost or buried or under-developed their empathy. Who see black and brown and female and trans bodies as things to be used, or scorned or destroyed. Those are the true monsters.

Reading Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country isn’t just a look at the bigotry of the past. Jim Crow isn’t dead. He just got a new suit, had a makeover. Now he wears thousand-dollar suits, has a
Elle Maruska
I really wish I could've like this book more than I did. The concept was really interesting and the characters were very interesting as well. But I feel like this story wasn't the author's to tell; it made me incredibly uncomfortable to read a white man speaking through black characters about being black in the 1950s. I respect books that feature diverse characters but there's a difference between telling a story with black characters and telling a story about being black; white authors can and ...more
'We continue to look forward to the time, not far off now, when all travelers are treated as equals. And until that glorious day, we resolve to stride forth boldly, prepared for whatever challenges the road ahead may bring ...'
—The Safe Negro Travel Guide, Spring 1955 edition

I have yet to watch any episodes of the HBO limited series based on this book, but from the trailer it seems that enfant terrible Jordan Peele et al have upped the juice on the Lovecraft quotient, which is precisely what I f
Amanda Hupe
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff at Barnes and Noble and I was intrigued when I saw the cover. I found it on Libby and decided to try the audiobook which is narrated by Kevin Kenerly. I love the lore behind HP Lovecraft’s work but HP Lovecraft is racist, so it is very difficult to read. In fact, I couldn’t even finish it. I ended up just researching the lore instead. This book addresses the racism embedded in Lovecraft’s work and I was immediately hooked.

The book is broken up into different
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I only found out about this book thanks to seeing the trailer for the Netflix adaptation. The way bookworms sometimes find great stories is almost creepy. *lol*

We’re in America in the 50s. Slavery might be over but racism certainly isn’t. If you think what you’re seeing nowadays is bad, strap yourself in, because this will be a very uncomfortable ride for you. As it should be because all the frisking, all the crimes black people didn’t commit but were punished (even killed) for, the everyday dis
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a bit of a white lie because I really only read the first 100 pages and was satisfied. But if you want to explore Lovecraftian tropes in the Jim Crow south (and you do! You just don't know it yet) this is a good read. ...more
While George busied himself in the kitchen, Atticus went out to the front parlor, which in childhood had served him as both library and reading room. The bookshelves were divided into his and hers, Aunt Hippolyta’s interests running primarily to science and natural history, with a smattering of Jane Austen. George gave a nod to respectable literature but reserved his deepest passion and most of his shelf space for the genres of pulp: science fiction, fantasy, mysteries and detective stories, hor ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Lovecraft Country" was the genre mashup I didn't know I needed, but I assure you, I very much needed it. It's basically "Devil in a Blue Dress" meets H.P. Lovecraft. At first blush that would seem an odd pairing but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. What is at the core of the fear in Lovecraft? The other, separateness, and (honestly) racism. Well, 1950's America was the last bastion of legal (and illegal) racism in America and a very tough time to be an African-American. Much lik ...more
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I was born in New York City in 1965. I decided I wanted to be a fiction writer when I was five years old and spent my childhood and adolescence learning how to tell stories. At Cornell University I wrote what would become my first published novel, Fool on the Hill, as my senior thesis in Honors English. My professor Alison Lurie helped me find an agent, and within six months of my college graduati ...more

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“But stories are like people, Atticus. Loving them doesn’t make them perfect. You try to cherish their virtues and overlook their flaws. The flaws are still there, though. "

"But you don’t get mad. Not like Pop does."

"No, that’s true, I don’t get mad. Not at stories. They do disappoint me sometimes." He looked at the shelves. "Sometimes, they stab me in the heart.”
“But stories are like people, Atticus. Loving them doesn't make them perfect. You try to cherish their virtues and overlook their flaws. The flaws are still there, though. But you don't get mad.” 22 likes
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