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Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country

A Novel

Book - 2016 | First edition
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Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing 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 which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus.
Publisher: New York, New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2016]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780062292063
Call Number: FICTION RUFF 2016
Characteristics: 372 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

A unique mashup of the dark history of 1950s Jim Crow America with Lovecraftian motifs, told through a series of linked "weird" tales.

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Jun 08, 2021

Hard to pin down how I feel about this book: on one hand the space travel and ghosts feel trashy-fun; on the other hand the bigotry is gut wrenching and infuriating.

Apr 16, 2021

Interesting but odd. It was like the author was holding back, like he met his quota for the supernatural fairly early on and then only offered it in stops and starts. Like he was a shy virgin for the supernatural, afraid of ruining his reputation with the fantastic. In some parts, he just walked away, maybe with his hands over his eyes and we were left guessing instead of knowing for sure. The ending was a little Scooby doo-ish in exposition.
It does have one of the coolest covers I've seen in a long time.
Still, despite some hiccups it was seriously entertaining--a four star read. I've already started the TV show and am pleased that the producers tossed off the brakes for the supernatural and occult and we are off properly on our journey.

JCLLaurelA Mar 24, 2021

The horrors of H.P. Lovecraft meeting the horrors of white supremacy during the Jim Crow era makes for a fascinating tale. This was a pretty quick read. I found myself wanting more meat to the story, but I do love what we were given.

ArapahoeBethM Mar 23, 2021

Psychological thriller, family drama, a little interplanetary travel and a lot of pulp fiction - this really defies classification. Fun and fast-paced, smart twists with no loose ends. Highly recommend.

JCLKarynH Oct 13, 2020

I don't know what terrifies me more in this novel, the literal monsters like man-eating space boulders, ghosts and possessed dolls; or the white supremacists who commit monstrous acts of racial violence during the Jim Crow era of the 1950s. The format of interconnecting weird tales starring members of three black families was unexpected and surprisingly engaging. When I saw this book was made into a popular HBO series, I wanted to be a good librarian and read the source material first. What a wild ride and very timely.

KHCPL_Wagner Oct 15, 2019

This Lovecraftian horror novel features the fear of the unknown.

Jul 19, 2019

A charming homage to Lovecraft. Compelling plot, interesting characters, and plenty of thrills and chills along the way.

JCLGreggW Oct 11, 2017

Social commentary AND Lovecraftian horror tropes? I'm in. Novelist Matt Ruff weaves several interrelated tales of a 1950s African-American family with ties to an ancient order of New England cultists. Surprising and delightful, what you get is never what you expect.

KCLSRacheal Jul 13, 2017

This story of a Black family whose members each intersect with the head of a creepy cult of 'Natural Philosophers' would be great for fans of the movie Get Out (Jordan Peele is actually adapting this for TV!) because it turns often white-centered horror tropes on their heads, and focuses on Black characters with tons of smarts and agency.

Apr 04, 2017

Lovecraft Country packs a lot of historic and social commentary into an intriguing science fiction/fantasy plot. In one sentence, it's the story of an African American families unfortunate and unwilling involvement with an secret cabal of sorcerers. That plot alone is interesting, but there are a ton of smaller things which really drew me in. The book delves into things like the difficulty of travel as an African American in the 50's and 60's. The looming threats of sundown towns, police violence, discrimination in lodging and gas stations come up repeatedly throughout the story. The story even brings up a fictional version of the real life 'The Negro Motorist Green Book', a 40's era publication circulated among African American families in the Midwest and the south so that they could know what roads and motels they could safely stay at without fear of violence from the locals or law enforcement. Other things that I really enjoyed in the novel were the interactions between two of the main characters, Atticus and his father Montrose. Atticus is a big fan of early 20th century science fiction and fantasy. The title comes from the fact that Atticus was an avid fan of Lovecraft's writings. His father criticizes him for it, not just because of the subject matter, but because of Lovecraft's' and several other authors of that era's racial prejudices. Particularly the dehumanization of African Americans, which Atticus and Montrose are. Atticus comes to terms with this contradiction by arguing that he enjoys the writing, not the author or their perspectives. It was tiny details like this that made me such a fan of this novel. The overall story is an enjoyable romp, but the details inbetween really brought this book to life.

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“Lovecraft Country,” takes place in Jim Crow U.S.A. and the majority of main characters are black. The primary character, Atticus Turner (a combo name built from Atticus Finch and Nate Turner?) is a science fiction literature aficionado. And he travels around the country doing research for a book published/written and printed by his father. The book's titled, “The Safe Negro Travel Guide.” A book which, unfortunately, is based on an actual historical artifact. Lovely. USA! USA! USA! Read the rest of my review/summary on my blog at:


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