New Fiction: Lovecraft Country – Matt Ruff

Oh, Matt Ruff! Booksellers who have hand sold his work know that potential customers go one of two ways: Those who politely say, “That’s different” and pick up something else—and those who say “Whaaaaat??!!” and become fans for life. Count me in the second category.

To get a sense of the kind of weird we’re dealing with here, consider some of his previous books:

  • Set This House in Order — A coming of age story from inside the head of a young man with multiple personality disorder who is living with over one hundred different people inside him.
  • Bad Monkeys — A paranoid psychological thriller about a world of deadly secret societies surrounding our everyday lives that reads like Nancy Drew on LSD.
  • The Mirage — An alternate history conspiracy novel that tells the story of a 9/11 where North American Christian fundamentalists hijack four Arabian jetliners and fly into the Tigris & Euphrates World Trade Towers. (Uh huh.)

This new novel will likewise expand your mind and set your sense of perspective on end. It takes place in 1950’s Jim Crow America and involves a travel guide published for African Americans that helped them find food and lodging in an often inhospitable U.S. This is a dark fantasy so at the heart of this novel are true Lovecraftian horrors—but it’s no accident that they are stirred in with the real-life terrors of life in the 1950’s for our African American heroes.

This timely rumination on racism in America refracts an African-American family’s brush….Ruff has an impressive grasp of classic horror themes, but the most unsettling aspects of his novel are the everyday experiences of bigotry that intensify the Turners’ encounters with the supernatural. Readers will appreciate the irony of how the Turners’ conditioning in enduring racial bias empowers them to master more macabre challenges.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Genuinely spooky… But the real horror is the reality of life for African-Americans in the Jim Crow era… sparks the imagination while also igniting the reader’s empathy.”
— Library Journal

“Another ‘only Matt Ruff could do this’ production. Lovecraft Country takes the unlikeliest of premises and spins it into a funny, fast, exciting and affecting read.”
— Neal Stephenson

“A brilliantly conceived story brilliantly executed. In Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff renders a very high-concept, imaginary world with such vividness that you can’t help but feel it’s disturbingly real.”
— Christopher Moore

“Matt Ruff is one of our most imaginative living writers, and Lovecraft Country is simply amazing. It’s the story of two African-American families in the Jim Crow era, dealing with terrors both supernatural and man-made. Ruff is a master at creating clever, sympathetic underdog characters who triumph – mostly – over their enemies, and his sharp wit and brilliant world-building make his books delightful to read while leaving you with plenty of food for thought.”
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books and Music, Okemos, MI

 

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