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~Free Book ♖ Lovecraft Country ♞ 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 fantasyChicago,When his father Montrose goes missing, twenty two 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 Atticus s great grandmother they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devoursAt 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 destructionA chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of one black family, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today 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 sampl 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 muchThe 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 focusingon 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 From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent H P Lovecraft Do you know what the irony here is Despite the supernatural elements like black magic, haunted houses, mysterious coven and nameless realms which populate this tale, the real horrors that haunt these pages are the injustices of Jim Crow era The blind racism which raged through Uncle Sam like a wildfire consuming lives, proving once again that It s not the ghosts you need to fear, but the man himselfFrom even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent H P Lovecraft Do you know what the irony here is Despite the supernatural elements like black magic, haunted houses, mysterious coven and nameless realms which populate this tale, the real horrors that haunt these pages are the injustices of Jim Crow era The blind racism which raged through Uncle Sam like a wildfire consuming lives, proving once again that It s not the ghosts you need to fear, but the man himself.Oh, one another thing.H.P Lovecraft The man who captivated the imagination of millions of readers with his unsettling mythos and entrancing writings He was also a racist who never shied away from showing it The irony here is naming this book after him even though the story hardly has anything to do with Lovecraft or his mythos I was actually chuckling at the fact that yet another book exists with Lovecraft s name where the heroes are African Americans.Lovecraft must be glaring at Matt Ruff from abyss ever since the publication of this book Bonus Irony Using Lovecraft s own quote as the lead in to this review 10 points to me The shadow over Chicago The story is set in the mid 50 s We are introduced to an array of characters, notably Atticus Turner, his father Montrose, Monrose s brother George his family and Letitia Ruby, two sisters living in Chicago.The story begins with a road trip to find Atticus s father, who went missing while he was trying to find out about his wife s ancestry As Atticus, Letitia and George enter an odd locality to find him, they are introduced to unimaginable wonders and horrors rituals that set off events which put their life and their family s life inside a dark and complex web of power strugglesThey can imagine all sorts of horror They were African Americans living in the 50 s Despite being billed as a horror story, this is a surprisingly fun read The story is episodic in nature, each chapter focusing on one event and a set of interconnected characters, which finally leads to a grand finale.I loved the structure of the story and the situations presented in it But the best parts are undoubtedly the excellent characterization of the cast, their rich dialogues and naturalistic portrayal of racism.This is neither a horror read nor a Lovecraftian one The story is closer to urban fantasy and adventure genre and it is very very exciting The characters are very likableEven our anti hero is too damn likableand the stories are filled with memorable moments.Highly recommendedBut you love these storiesAtticus saidYou love them as much as I do I do love them,George agreedBut stories are like people, Atticus Loving them doesn t make them perfect You try to cherish their virtues and overlook their flaws The flaws are still there, though This is a difficult book for me to review I think I love it in spite of itself Or maybe I love it in spite of stuffy old me.You see, if I filled out a checklist of what I like in a novel, Lovecraft Country wouldn t get many checks The prose itself isn t much no spare elegance, no stylistic flourishes the characters, though amiable, lack depth and definition the plot is rambling, episodic, and not all that interesting in itself and, although it s got the name Lovecraft in the title, the s This is a difficult book for me to review I think I love it in spite of itself Or maybe I love it in spite of stuffy old me.You see, if I filled out a checklist of what I like in a novel, Lovecraft Country wouldn t get many checks The prose itself isn t much no spare elegance, no stylistic flourishes the characters, though amiable, lack depth and definition the plot is rambling, episodic, and not all that interesting in itself and, although it s got the name Lovecraft in the title, the supernatural element of the book isn t really scary at all.So don t read it, right Wrong Lovecraft Country is the story of Atticus Turner and his family, a bunch of bookish, nerdy African Americans including one would be comic book artist writer, one would be astronomer, one science fiction fan, and one publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide who live in Chicago in the 1950 s In the course of a road trip to find missing father Montrose, the Turners experience all the challenges of a racist America Jim Crow, sunset towns, vicious local sheriffs, etc only to discover along the way that they have a sinister connection to the Braithwhites, a family of white wizards not Klu Klux Klan wizards, the devil summoning kind residing in an obscure part of Massachusetts It seems the Braithwhites have plans for Atticus and his family,and they are very evil plans indeed.Ruff writes a fast moving, energetic prose which catches and keeps your attention, and fills his book with varied incidents and frequent changes of scenery His characters, although not deep, are extremely likable, and he makes us care about their fates Although the book s occult elements aren t terrifying not even very suspenseful the descriptions of racist America in all its 50 s glory are horrific Ruff has done his historical research well, and he presents us with an America filled with obstacles and fraught with danger for every person of color The real miracle of the book, though, is that Ruff manages to accomplish all this with both lightness and reverence, fashioning an adventure saga about Black Americans confronting a racist world without a hint of liberal tentativeness or lofty condescension Lovecraft Country is a work of cultural appreciation, not appropriation, and is also an excellent adventure novel too.There s a great moment near the end of Lovecraft Country when the wizard Braithwhite tries to threaten the Turners, and the entire clan roars at him with laughterWhat Braithwhite shouted, looking at them as if they were crazy What s so funny But for a long while they were laughing too hard to answer Oh, Mr Braithwhite, Atticus said finally, wiping tears from his eyes What is it you re trying to scare me with You think I don t know what country I live in I know We all do We always have You re the one who doesn t understand Forgive me for going with an obvious joke, but to re phrase a Hunter S Thompson quote We can t stop here This is Lovecraft Country In this case, what is Lovecraft Country Well, from a typical trope standpoint, Lovecraft Country is a twisted version of rural New England, where a good portion of author H P Lovecraft s fiction took place It s a place where monsters lurked, where horror reigns supreme, where the world is uncaring and indifferent to your suffering In other words, very much l Forgive me for going with an obvious joke, but to re phrase a Hunter S Thompson quote We can t stop here This is Lovecraft Country In this case, what is Lovecraft Country Well, from a typical trope standpoint, Lovecraft Country is a twisted version of rural New England, where a good portion of author H P Lovecraft s fiction took place It s a place where monsters lurked, where horror reigns supreme, where the world is uncaring and indifferent to your suffering In other words, very much like 1950s America if you were not white This book follows an African American surviving in Jim Crow era America They face racism, prejudice and horror, some of which happens to come from supernatural entities While this book is stated to be a novel, it really feelslike a short story collection, where all the stories just happen to be connected As such I will do my typical short story collection review, and give a mini review for each story Lovecraft Country Easily the most Lovecraftian story in the collection The sense of being in a world out of your control was felt heavily here, but despite the underground sorcerer club presented, the real threat really was the reality of the world around our characters The sheriff they run into on the road was afrighting figure than anything supernatural 4 5 stars.Dreams of the Which House Your classic haunted house story, but again the sense that the real world horrors are worse than the supernatural After all, the ghost here was threatening, but compare that to the neighbors 4 5 starsAbdullah s Book I loved this story It s really not the best from a horror stand point, but it feels the most like a pulp adventure story I mean, it s a museum heist to steal a magic book, filled with Indian Jones like traps This story is just fun, and filled with humor That s not to say it is without merit from an analysis standpoint, you ll note that Abdullah s book is in the title, not the one they are actually out to steal 4 5 starsHippolyta Disturbs the Universe My least favorite in the collection Not bad by any means, but personally the least interesting I liked the twist what was in the box , but the most interesting aspect to me was the history of the discovery of Pluto discussed at the start 3 5 starsJekyll in Hyde Park Honestly, I started this one thinking it would be my least favorite I m not a fan of body swap stories, and I had a pretty good clue as to the twist here While some aspects of this were interesting Ruff did a really good job showing Ruby s different experiences where this story really worked for me was the party at the end It gave usinsight into Braithwhite and made him one of theinteresting villains I ve read in some time He really does come off as the charming devil figure, able to offer temptations for a price and always multiple steps ahead 4 5 starsThe Narrow House The most depressing story in the collection in my opinion We really are getting two tales here, the story of the inhabitants of the house and Montrose revising the worst night of his life The story made his past actionsrelatable, and also gave a pretty good insight into his past interactions with Atticus 3.5 5 starsHorace and the Devil Doll I was wondering if we would get into police relations, and as uncomfortable as a topic as it is, I m glad we did What s scarier your classic devil doll, or a police force that is actively out to get you 3 5 starsThe Mark of Cain Honestly don t have much to say about this one from an analysis standpoint A satisfactory conclusion and I like how it retied the stories all together view spoiler It may have one of the darkest examples of an everybody laughs ending I ve ever seen, after Caleb threatens them that everyone will be out to get them without his protection, and they react with that s just how the world is hide spoiler 4 5 starsYou ll note, all the ratings are pretty high to middle ground There is not a single bad story in this book, and viewed together they make a wonderful tale I loved that as a whole this was an examination of race in horror overall, not just Lovecraft who sadly was a racist, and not in a fair for his day sort of way, but an outright racist even at the time We got several classics stories haunted houses, body swaps, evil dolls and so on reexamined with this idea in mind I liked how Ruff played with the Lovecraftian horror sense of a world that doesn t care about it s protagonists and constant hopelessness, but here showing that as the everyday life of these people What can the monsters possibly add that life in Jim Crow America hasn t already thrown at them Finally, the sense of humor was very much appreciated Honestly, without it, this one would have been a tough read The real world aspects are so consistently worse than the horror aspects, making it even bleaker, which is a sad statement on the world One last thing before I go, I ve seen several modern authors tackle Lovecraft s racism it s one of the things pretty much guaranteed in any Lovecraft spin today It s not hard to see why He s one of the most celebrated horror authors for a reason His work was hugely influential and some of the tales genuinely frighting Even today he has a huge fan base, but many fans struggle with this Is it appropriate to still like his fiction, despite the fact that in real life he was a colossal asshole Well, the book tries to address this directly But stories are like people, Atticus Loving them doesn t make them perfect You try to cherish their virtues and overlook their flaws The flaws are still there, though But you don t get mad Not like Pop does No, that s true, I don t get mad Not at stories They do disappoint me sometimes He looked at the shelves Sometimes, they stab me in the heart 4 5 stars.My personal rankings of the stories from best to worst Dreams of the Which House Jekyll in Hyde Park Lovecraft Country Abdullah s Book The Mark of Cain The Narrow House Horace and the Devil Doll Hippolyta Disturbs the Universe I m between 2.5 and 3 stars, but I rounded up because I m a Matt Ruff fan from way back Yeah, Tina, that s how I felt after reading this book This was one crazy, creative, confusing ride In 1954, the U.S was still deep in the throes of segregation and blatant racism When Korean War veteran Atticus Turner finds out his estranged father Montrose has gone missing, accompanying a young, confident looking white man to a small town in New England, Atticus knows he must find him and see what troub Rating 4 of fiveMARCH 2020 NEWS Author Ruff will have a Reddit AMA on the 27th 2018 NEWS The mooted HBO series picks up steam to my joy What a great thing this could be, the richness and beauty of the story well served by the episodic treatmentbut of course there s the nothing good is ever guaranteed gnome gnawing my hope bone.MAY 2017 NEWS The book will come to HBO as a series W00t I voted for this book in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awar Rating 4 of fiveMARCH 2020 NEWS Author Ruff will have a Reddit AMA on the 27th 2018 NEWS The mooted HBO series picks up steam to my joy What a great thing this could be, the richness and beauty of the story well served by the episodic treatmentbut of course there s the nothing good is ever guaranteed gnome gnawing my hope bone.MAY 2017 NEWS The book will come to HBO as a series W00t I voted for this book in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards I reviewed BAD MONKEYS not long ago, in preparation for reading this book That was a three plus star read, mostly for the sheer audacity of the ending, and I do love me a twisty ending.This book gets four glowing platinum stars because, from giddy up to whoa, there is no let up in the wildly inventive excitement blasting from Ruff s imagination fire hose Not a moment when things slack off, not a corner left unscoured for dramatic and amusing, lots of in jokes of which nothing is made because enough that they re there possibilities And let me step outside the fiction s pleasures for a moment and say that this treatment of the vileness that is racism is both inventive and appropriate For that reason alone, and there are plenty of others, this book merits your vote in the Goodreads Choice Awards.Why not five Because ending Ending okayness after this wild trip Hmph GimmeYou have before, Mr Ruff, and if ever a tale deserved a slam bang ending it s this one H.P Lovecraft, like many of his time 1890 1937 was by today s standards, a racist.His ideas about inferior races comes across in many of his stories in varying degrees Most readers of his work cite The Horror at Red Hook as the low point of this element of his canon That paranoid and prejudiced story reveals in Lovecraft a viewpoint of us and them that goes beyond isolationist philosophy and may shed light on motives for the eldritch, dark themes of his writing.Many writers since, thoug H.P Lovecraft, like many of his time 1890 1937 was by today s standards, a racist.His ideas about inferior races comes across in many of his stories in varying degrees Most readers of his work cite The Horror at Red Hook as the low point of this element of his canon That paranoid and prejudiced story reveals in Lovecraft a viewpoint of us and them that goes beyond isolationist philosophy and may shed light on motives for the eldritch, dark themes of his writing.Many writers since, though, have taken up his occult subjects and ran with them, creating the sub genre of fantasy horror now known collectively as Lovecraftian Lovecraft was, like all of us, a mixed bag of good and bad, pluses and minuses, successes and failures Like Philip K Dick and an unfortunate crowd of writers over the centuries, Lovecraft s success came largely after his death Those influenced by him have taken his gloomy inspiration and created Lovecraftian works that continue to entertain and scare readers today.Matt Ruff s 2016 work Lovecraft Country, pays homage to Lovecraft s arcane work while also casting a satirical tone on the racial elements of Lovecraft s work and protesting those elements in an entertaining and provocative novel.Members of an African American family in the 1950s encounter and engage Lovecraftian components in a tale that Lovecraft himself would likely not have written Readers follow along to encounter secret societies, ancient allegiances and occult magic More than this, though, Ruff uses the Lovecraftian themes to describe racism in our society, and history, to be the real horror, farscary than something old HP could invent.Reminiscent of Victor la Valle s excellent 2016 novella The Ballad of Black Tom, this takestime to get where it s going and the narrative quality of Ruff s message is diluted with too much over the top commentary Whereas La Valle s work is a fast and exciting story that delivers an anti racial message couched in a good story, Ruff s work isambitious but struggles under its own weight Lovecraft Country is a collection of inter connected stories about an extended African American family in the mid to late 1940 s and their encounters with things not of this world, notably sorcerers, a gateway to another world, and a haunted house.Holy Shit Lovecraft Country is an early front runner for the best book I ve read in 2016 Here s how it all went down.Lovecraft Country is the story of the Green Turner family, an African American family trying to make ends meet in the Jim Crow era Lovecraft Country is a collection of inter connected stories about an extended African American family in the mid to late 1940 s and their encounters with things not of this world, notably sorcerers, a gateway to another world, and a haunted house.Holy Shit Lovecraft Country is an early front runner for the best book I ve read in 2016 Here s how it all went down.Lovecraft Country is the story of the Green Turner family, an African American family trying to make ends meet in the Jim Crow era Matt Ruff does a great job of contrasting the cosmic horror of the Lovecraft mythos with the everyday horrors of racism and ignorance I loved how each story used Lovecraft staples as a starting point and interjected a member or two of the Turner family.The ages long connection between the Turners and the Braithwaites was very well done For an evil mastermind, Caleb Braithwaite was a well drawn character, far from the scene chewing villain he could have been The magic system was well done and true to the tale s Lovecraftian roots The Turners were capable but not superhuman by any means.Honestly, I can t think of anything bad to say about this book It hit all the right buttons for me It has the momentum of a collection of pulp yarns but the writing is far superior to most stories of this kind and the Jim Crow era setting and the well drawn characters set it several notches above most books of this type.Five out of five stars Good luck impressing me after this, next book There are many things that took me by surprise with this book, first and foremost the style of story telling.I had expected a classical novel with aor less after all, this is meant to be Lovecraftian straight line towards a catastrophe What I read was a collection of Lovecraft inspired short stories which supplied little dots you could connect to form a central story Some of these stories played out longer and inunimportant detail than would have been necessary, I feel Also There are many things that took me by surprise with this book, first and foremost the style of story telling.I had expected a classical novel with aor less after all, this is meant to be Lovecraftian straight line towards a catastrophe What I read was a collection of Lovecraft inspired short stories which supplied little dots you could connect to form a central story Some of these stories played out longer and inunimportant detail than would have been necessary, I feel Also, the writing was a lothumourous than I anticipated which wasn t a bad thing, only an unexpected element to the mix of Lovecraftian elements and racism criticism.There are, as I have mentioned, Lovecraft elements such as doors between worlds across the universe, shapeless horrors haunting the shadows and covens of elderly white men trying to summon powers they don t seem to fully understand But they don t supply the horrid and terrifying bits that is wholly achieved by the disgusting racism the group of main chacarters encounters at every turn in a not so distant past in the US Jim Crow definitely beats old Shoggoth in horror and ugliness here.This book being set in the rural South of the US in the 1950s offers ways to show the effects of racism that wouldn t be plausible if the story was set in a contemporary US While racism is still a problem there today as in the whole world, actually and sadly , the discrimination against and segregation of people of colour in general and black people in particular is no longer written down as official state law While people of colour still have to worry a lotabout being pulled over by cops than white people, at least the cop can no longer pull them over legally on the grounds of their skin colour and the time of day or night, as happens to the characters in the book Of course, the racism shown in the book reflects back on the reality of today, but the exact way racism influences Ruff s story development in his setting of the 1950s wouldn t be credible today He d have to tell certain aspects differently, in the same way an author telling a story the development of which is influenced by the presence of antisemitism in Germany would have to present incidents of antisemitism differently, depending on whether they set the story in contemporary Germany, 1930s Germany or medieval Germany Antisemitism was there, sadly, in all these time periods but the outward form it was legally allowed to take would differ greatly.By presenting the incidents of racism as he does, Ruff enables the reader to draw the obvious conclusion that racism is absolutely wrong, and also stupid What annoyed me at times was the schoolmasterly tone employed on top of that And this, kids, is why racism is bad This just isn t necessary and might even hurt the valid point he s making because people in general are a lot less likely to consider a proposition or opinion as correct if the person presenting it gives them the feeling they think the audience is just too stupid to get it if it isn t spelt for them letter by letter Neither Colson Whitehead in The Underground Railroad nor Jodi Picoult in Small Great Things felt the need to spell it out for their readers, and still I can t imagine anyone with even half a braincell to read the first and think awww, the good old times in the US South or to read the second and think yes, of course it s right to drag that nurse to court, I wish she d been found guilty Both authors show instead of telling, and trust their readers to be enough of a human being to still get it.Still, the book is a good and surprisingly fun read despite the serious issue of racism underlying the whole plot