cover image Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country

Matt Ruff. Harper, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-229206-3

This timely rumination on racism in America refracts an African-American family’s brush with supernatural horrors through the prism of life in the Jim Crow years of the mid-20th century. The novel’s episodic events involve the extended family of Chicagoan Atticus Turner, who are lineal descendants of slaves once owned by the ancestors of New Englander Caleb Braithwhite. As Braithwhite jockeys for ascendancy in the sorcerous Order of the Ancient Dawn, he draws Turner and his family and friends into a variety of intrigues, including the recovery of a book of occult lore, the manipulation of a Jekyll-esque split personality, and encounters with ghosts. Ruff (The Mirage) 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. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency. (Feb.)