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.