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Lovecraft Country
Cover of Lovecraft Country
Lovecraft Country
A Novel
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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...
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...
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Description-

  • 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 novels Lovecraft Country; The Mirage; Bad Monkeys; Set This House in Order; Fool on the Hill; and Sewer, Gas & Electric: The Public Works Trilogy. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 30, 2015
    This timely rumination on racism in America refracts an African-American family’s brush with supernatural horrors through the prism of life in the Jim Crow years of the mid-20th century. The novel’s episodic events involve the extended family of Chicagoan Atticus Turner, who are lineal descendants of slaves once owned by the ancestors of New Englander Caleb Braithwhite. As Braithwhite jockeys for ascendancy in the sorcerous Order of the Ancient Dawn, he draws Turner and his family and friends into a variety of intrigues, including the recovery of a book of occult lore, the manipulation of a Jekyll-esque split personality, and encounters with ghosts. Ruff (The Mirage) has an impressive grasp of classic horror themes, but the most unsettling aspects of his novel are the everyday experiences of bigotry that intensify the Turners’ encounters with the supernatural. Readers will appreciate the irony of how the Turners’ conditioning in enduring racial bias empowers them to master more macabre challenges. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency.

  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2015

    African American Korean War veteran Atticus Turner's car breaks down at the start of this novel set in the 1950s, leading to a series of degrading encounters with local bigots. It won't be the last time a character narrowly avoids a lynching in Ruff's novel of linked stories, which follows Atticus, his family, and friends as they tangle with a secret society. The title story involves Atticus, his Uncle George, and his friend Leticia as they travel to the New England town of Ardham (a tip of the hat to H.P. Lovecraft's fictional town of Arkham). When they arrive, they find that they were lured there by members of the Order of the Ancient Dawn who need Atticus for a bizarre summoning ritual. VERDICT These stories are at times genuinely spooky, with cursed dolls, portals to other worlds, and tentacled monsters that reach out of the dark. But the real horror is the reality of life for African Americans in the Jim Crow era of prejudice and injustice. Ruff (Bad Monkeys; The Mirage) has written a horror novel that sparks the imagination while also igniting the reader's empathy.--MM

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2015
    Some very nice, very smart African-Americans are plunged into netherworlds of malevolent sorcery in the waning days of Jim Crow--as if Jim Crow alone wasn't enough of a curse to begin with. In the northern U.S. of the mid-1950s, as depicted in this merrily macabre pastiche by Ruff (The Mirage, 2012, etc.), Driving While Black is an even more perilous proposition than it is now. Ask Atticus Turner, an African-American Korean War veteran and science-fiction buff, who is compelled to face an all-too-customary gauntlet of racist highway patrolmen and hostile white roadside hamlets en route from his South Side Chicago home to a remote Massachusetts village in search of his curmudgeonly father, Montrose, who was lured away by a young white "sharp dresser" driving a silver Cadillac with tinted windows. At least Atticus isn't alone; his uncle George, who puts out annual editions of The Safe Negro Travel Guide, is splitting driving duties in his Packard station wagon "with inlaid birch trim and side paneling." Also along for the ride is Atticus' childhood friend Letitia Dandridge, another sci-fi fan, whose family lived in the same neighborhood as the Turners. It turns out this road trip is merely the beginning of a series of bizarre chimerical adventures ensnaring both the Turner and Dandridge clans in ancient rituals, arcane magical texts, alternate universes, and transmogrifying potions, all of which bears some resemblance to the supernatural visions of H.P. Lovecraft and other gothic dream makers of the past. Ruff's ripping yarns often pile on contrivances and overextend the narratives in the grand manner of pulp storytelling, but the reinvented mythos here seems to have aroused in him a newfound empathy and engagement with his characters. If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel's namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be doing triple axels in his grave at the way his imagination has been so impudently shaken and stirred.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 15, 2016
    In 1954, 22-year-old African American Korean War vet Atticus Turner, going to visit his father in Chicago, finds himself sought as the talisman of the Adamite Order of the Ancient Dawn. Caleb Braithwhite, leader of a Massachusetts lodge of the mysterious organization, has identified Atticus as the sole living descendant of the order's founder and intends to use the young man for his own ends to consolidate power, no matter the cost. Life is already fraught with stress for African Americans during the Jim Crow years, as members of two black families become involved with the all-white organization whose members deal in sorcery. Atticus' uncle, George Berry, publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide, with his wife and young son, and Atticus' childhood friend, Letitia Dandridge, and her sister, Ruby, are soon in varying degrees of danger, from natural and supernatural forces, as they rally to Atticus' aide in this nonstop adventure that includes time-shifting, shape-shifting, and Lovecraft-like horrors. But the greater horror is the treatment of African Americans living constantly on the edge of danger and potential death. 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.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

  • New York Times Book Review

    "At every turn, Ruff has great fun pitting mid-20th-century horror and sci-fi cliches against the banal and ever-present bigotry of the era. And at every turn, it is the bigotry that hums with the greater evil." — New York Times Book Review

    "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 bound to appeal to any reader who wants to delve into the strangeness of our land's racial legacy." — Seattle Times

    "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

    "Genuinely spooky... But the real horror is the reality of life for African-Americans in the Jim Crow era... sparks the imagination while also igniting the reader's empathy." — Library Journal

    "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." — Locus

    "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

    "Come for the mix of historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror. Stay for the fun of it." — Kirkus Reviews

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