Bradley's Reviews > Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
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really liked it
bookshelves: cthulhu-goes-ph-nglui-mglw-nafh-ct, fantasy, horror, 2016-shelf

There's two ways that I enjoyed this novel.

The first was the racism angle and the happy ending despite all the horrible things that happen in this tale and against blacks in good-ole-boy country in 50's 'murica. Racism, enslavement on multiple levels, the desire to try on another skin, all of it was both a repudiation of fantasy and pulp fiction's other skewed-ness way from black heroes. This novel dealt with the issues head-on and I liked it. :)

The second was how the novel was also a huge sample-dish of horror tropes, a love story to cultists, sorcerers, well-researched secret societies, evil doll tropes, tentacles, paranoia, haunted houses, and so much more. The author knows his shit. Lovecraft? Sure, but think of a slightly milder take, not quite attempting to draw us deeper and deeper into the depths of awe-turned-horror, but skipping us across strangeness to strangeness across the entire tale, sampling a bit of each dish while focusing more on character-journeys that don't quite make them go insane or get pulled into other dimensions or get eaten by non-euclidian geometries.

This is an anti-racist funhouse of horrors. :)

Of course, if you are subject to racism, yourself, you might just fall into this tale and call it a novel of pure horror, but at least you can rest assured that there will be a happy ending. :)
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Reading Progress

July 4, 2016 – Started Reading
July 5, 2016 – Shelved
July 5, 2016 – Shelved as: cthulhu-goes-ph-nglui-mglw-nafh-ct
July 5, 2016 – Shelved as: fantasy
July 5, 2016 – Shelved as: horror
July 5, 2016 – Finished Reading
October 26, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-shelf

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Beth (last edited Jul 05, 2016 11:25AM) (new) - added it

Beth I was taken aback by the first paragraph of this review because earlier this year I read the Lovecraftian novella "The Ballad of Black Tom" which takes one of Lovecraft's stories (which I hadn't read, it worked out anyway) and reimagines it from a black man's point of view. Now I'm intrigued, and want to see how Ruff handles the subject matter differently from LaValle!


Bradley Well it's definitely an alternate imagining of a Lovecraftian tale, making sure that some of Howard's foibles are corrected. :)


Andy Dillbeck My only real problem with this book was the very end, when a character that has been mostly helpful throughout totally gets betrayed by the people he was helping.
Yes, his helping them was also self serving, but after every interaction they came out of it better.
I really do think he deserved better than he got.
It's what took it from a 4 star to a 2 star for me.


Bradley Fair enough. I just didn't want to judge the whole book based on how badly a particular character was treated. Most horrors would have no fans if that was generally the case. :)


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