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Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Posted by George Woods on

Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Turner, an army vet, has to go and save his dad. But he doesn't know why until he gets there. George, his uncle, and Letitia, a long-time friend of the family, join Atticus on his road trip from Chicago to New England. To be honest, he needs help because traveling across America as a solo black guy in the 1950s isn't the easiest thing to do. 

Secret Cults, Portals to other Worlds, Ancient Spell-books and body morphing potions are just a few of the things we come across in this amazing homage to H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft Country has a continuing plot but it's more like a collection of short stories and their dealings with a cult called the Order of the Ancient Dawn and the leader of the organization Caleb Braithwaite.

This book is a masterpiece on how to write a tribute to your favorite author. The dedication to H.P. Lovecraft is remarkable because it doesn't hide any of the darker parts of his past. There isn't any way to write a book about a black family in a Lovecraftian world without acknowledging the fact that H.P. himself was unmistakably racist and anti-semitic. The novel tackles racism in a couple of ways; it is a sincere and impartial account of how black Americans were treated in the 50s. During my time reading I kind of forgot that I was reading a sci-fi-horror novel half the time and I was so focused on the sociological aspects. Ruby has a really interesting time with a Jekyll and Hyde-esque potion that makes people see her very differently and I think that is my favorite storyline within the book. The main villain of the piece is Caleb Braithwaite, a super-rich white man from a super-rich white family. He uses Atticus and his family as a means to an end throughout a lot of the novel. Whenever he needs something from them he has a really bad habit of bribery, blackmail or full-on kidnapping.

The only thing that fell flat for me as a huge horror fan was the actual horror. As I said, I would forget that I was even reading horror. That's fine for a lot of the time but let's get real, horror is kind of my thing if you hadn't noticed already. I was left hungry like I'd gone to an amazing restaurant with the tiniest portions, you know the ones. I wasn't left shaking or quivering in my boots and when it makes no difference to the story-line why not give me something meatier. 

 

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