STARRED REVIEW
March 2016

Supernatural thrills amplify a thoughtful narrative on prejudice

By Matt Ruff
Review by
Atticus Turner, a young Army veteran from Chicago, is on a search for his father. He enlists his uncle George—the publisher of a book called, not metaphorically in 1954, The Safe Negro Travel Guide—to help find him. Along the way, the two black men encounter the powerful effects of racism in the mid-20th century, but they also meet so much more. It’s hard to say any more than that, because Lovecraft Country is a book that’s best experienced as it’s unfolding.
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Atticus Turner, a young Army veteran from Chicago, is on a search for his father. He enlists his uncle George—the publisher of a book called, not metaphorically in 1954, The Safe Negro Travel Guide—to help find him. Along the way, the two black men encounter the powerful effects of racism in the mid-20th century, but they also meet so much more. It’s hard to say any more than that, because Lovecraft Country is a book that’s best experienced as it’s unfolding.

Matt Ruff, a James Tiptree Jr. Award winner who has written cult classics like Bad Monkeys, brilliantly interweaves the racial tensions of the time with the supernatural, creating a world in which his characters must often literally grapple with their own second-class status. The juxtaposition is potent. Ruff’s steady, self-assured pacing and voice make this all very matter-of-fact, giving more supernatural moments a tactile quality. As with so many great genre novels, Lovecraft Country provides a sense of familiarity that makes the unbelievable believable. 

Fans of dense supernatural fiction will get happily lost in Lovecraft Country, as will anyone who wants a vastly entertaining novel that’s also an exploration of the nature of human prejudice.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country

By Matt Ruff
Harper
ISBN 9780062292063

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