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Lovecraft Country

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  17,029 ratings  ·  2,335 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 tri
Kindle Edition, 387 pages
Published February 16th 2016 by Harper
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Sarah Racial intolerance was and still is a *major* problem in the North, and sadly, I don't think this book is too much of an exaggeration for the types of…moreRacial intolerance was and still is a *major* problem in the North, and sadly, I don't think this book is too much of an exaggeration for the types of problems Black people faced during the Jim Crow era. (Although obviously without the supernatural stuff in the book!) The North, while it was known for not having Jim Crow laws, criminalized Black people and treated Black migrants from the South as if they weren't part of the community. Even to this day those communities exist and are impoverished, underfunded, and treated as if they are inferior (e.g. Flint, Michigan and the Black neighborhoods of Chicago). (less)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,029 ratings  ·  2,335 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, horror
”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 from the demented mind of H. P
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

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
Re-read, 7/22/20:

I'm going to go ahead and give it another star. It's really holding its own for me and enjoyed it, even more, the second time. Ah, the Great White hope, indeed.

F*** this S***.


Suffice to say, the '50s racism, if it was even half as bad as it is portrayed here, still seems rather freaking familiar as the kind we have today. Without the riots OR the solidarity, of course.

Original review:

There are two ways that I enjoyed this novel.

The first was the racism angle and the happy endi
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
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, horror, 2010s
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
Richard Derus
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

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 will come to HBO as a series! W00t!

I voted for this book in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awar
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
I remember an early episode of "Supernatural", in which the Winchester brothers have to deal with a family of rednecks who hunt, torture and kill humans for sport. Dean finds a Masson jar filled with human teeth in their cottage, and he says something like: "Demons, I get. But this?! This is messed up!". I couldn't agree more with him: monsters and weird creatures from the beyond are scary, but their motivations are relatively easy to figure out: they want your blood, your soul or perhaps your s ...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 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
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
Tom Mathews
While I have always been fascinated with the Cthulhu mythos and the bizarre world created by H. P. Lovecraft, I find the man himself thoroughly repugnant. His writing style puts me to sleep and his attitude towards people of other races is totally repellent. This makes Matt Ruff’s choice of African American characters the heroes of this engaging thriller that is chock full of magic and menace with members of two black families doing everything in their power to fend off attacks from two families ...more
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
John Devlin
Long time lover of HP, so this book started out intriguing with what seemed to be a black take on Shadow over Innsmouth(A fantastic story). Initially, I was concerned that the parallels were too tightly drawn, but the story breaks away from the Lovecraft association fairly quickly.

This is where the problems begin. The whole story's arc is an on the nose illustration of how much blacks have suffered at the hands of whites. Almost every opportunity is taken to cast a white person in a racist light
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
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Yassss. So good. Matt Ruff has written a very Lovecraftian novel that explores what it's like to be an African American science fiction fan in 1950's Jim Crow America. Lovecraft would have hated it, and I'm fairly certain his bones are doing backflips in his coffin right now.

I often ask myself, can you truly separate art from the artist? H.P. Lovecraft was the master of weird tales, but he was also incredibly racist, misogynistic, and anti-semitic. Damn, that man could write a story, but in real
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book so many reasons.

First off I really liked the choice of setting for the book. The story revolves around a group of African-Americans in the 1950's who get drawn into the (white) world of arcane secret societies very much against their will. In addition to having to deal with Jim Crow and the pervasive racism of America at the time they must also contend with the supernatural. They become unwilling pawns of a power struggle between rival "natural philosophers" and must do wha
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i picked up this book believing it would be a fun halloween read but i did not expect it to be SO WOKE

instead of lovecraftian horrors this book deals with something way scarier than any monsters could ever be: White Supremacy

istg this book was So Good 100% would recommend you all should read this it was brilliant

(see in times like these i wish i were more eloquent and could write a better review but my words sadly fail me u just have to take my word for it its a rlly good book,,,, ;A; )
Shaun Hutchinson
Tackling racism in and through the works of HP Lovecraft. Lovecraft himself would have hated this, but I absolutely loved it.
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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.” 11 likes
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