Lovecraft Country
August 30, 2020 3:11 PM - by Ruff, Matt - Subscribe

"There are a few things that are widely known about the work of HP Lovecraft – his viscous, tentacular monsters; his fondness for words such as “eldritch” and “gibbous”; and his racism. Matt Ruff’s new book is therefore a kind of exorcism. It pits a predominantly black cast of characters against “America’s demons”, though the Shoggoth in the woods is not nearly as dangerous as the systemic and ubiquitous racism they encounter. Is it scarier if the sheet-clad thing holding a burning torch is a genuine ghost, or just your average member of the Ku Klux Klan?" (From Stuart Kelly's review for The Guardian.)
posted by MonkeyToes (1 comment total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was a great choice for my book club, and very enjoyable. I noticed this book came out a couple years before 'Green Book' and I had wondered if it inspired it. Matt Ruff is white and although I loved the book I had wondered what the response from African American readers was. Alex Brown at Tor says he did his research; Aaron Coats at the Chicago Book Review liked it as well.

It would be easy to flippantly characterize this as 'racism is the real horror' but the strength of the book is how is engages with multiples facets of the African American experience including passing and caricatures.

I love the character names. Atticus, named for one of the most revoltingly heroized characters in white literature about racism. Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Letitia and Ruby Dandridge, probably named after Dorothy Dandridge. And Montrose implying a rising mountain. Just great names.
posted by bq at 9:27 PM on August 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

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