Lovecraft Country — reviews

“A stunner… it’s just amazing… very ambitious… I’m a huge Matt Ruff fan, because I think that he just has these amazing concepts, these amazing ideas… he’s able to take where we are and turn it into something deeper and more meaningful.” Nancy Pearl

Lovecraft Country rubs the pervasive, eldritch dread of Lovecraft’s universe against the very real, historical dread of Jim Crow America, and sparks fly. A brilliantly conceived story brilliantly executed. 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, author of Lamb and A Dirty Job

Lovecraft Country doesn’t just race along, it tears, demanding that you keep turning its pages without interruption… It’s one of those books. But on the other hand, there really aren’t any books quite like it.” — Cory Doctorow, author of Homeland and Little Brother

“Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country is wonderful from page one, when we guess that the book’s actually going to mash up race prejudice in ‘50s America with the WASP horrors evoked by H. P. Lovecraft. And Ruff brings it off as wonderfully as he begins. He is one of gentlest, wildest writers of fantastic fiction.” — John Crowley, author of Little, Big and Four Freedoms

“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, author of Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon

“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… 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… sparks the imagination while also igniting the reader’s empathy.” Library Journal

“Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country couldn’t be appearing at a more propitious time… it’s one of the story’s great ironies that the racial bigotry the Turners endure in everyday America gives them the strength and courage they need to triumph over supernatural challenges… Ruff shows with great cleverness how it’s possible for a group of victims to appropriate the very methods used to victimize them, master those methods, and bend them to serve their own purposes.” Locus (January 2016)

“With a respectable but less than Jovian total of five books since his first in 1988, Matt Ruff has nonetheless established a reputation as the deliverer of unique masterpieces every time out… [Lovecraft Country] takes us back to the USA of the 1950s… confronting Lovecraft’s now well-known prejudices through the lens of Ruff’s own brilliant imagination and artistry.” Barnes & Noble Review

“Ruff, a cult favorite for his mind-bending fiction, vividly portrays racism as a horror worse than anything conceived by Lovecraft in this provocative, chimerical novel.” Booklist (starred review)

“Fans of dense supernatural fiction will get happily lost in Lovecraft Country, as will anyone who wants a vastly entertaining novel that’s also an exploration of the nature of human prejudice.” Bookpage

“Ruff confidently displaces Lovecraft’s stereotypes… introducing fully-realized characters (both men and women) rich with intelligence, desire, and charisma… The slippery dialogue and suspense-soaked prose make Lovecraft Country—a challenge to one of the most recognizable legacies in science fiction—worth every dime.” Chicago Review of Books

Lovecraft Country is a genre-bending attempt to address the severe problem of race in modern America, skewering the prejudices of older pulp works while maintaining their flavor, but it’s also a compulsively readable horror-fantasy in its own right: timely, terrifying, and hilarious.” B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog

Lovecraft Country is bound to appeal to any reader who wants to delve into the strangeness of our land’s racial legacy.” The Seattle Times

“Ruff’s melding of historical Jim Crow depredations with otherworldly horrors catalyzes Lovecraft Country into something new under the sun (and unlikelier celestial bodies, in a few scenes).” The Seattle Review of Books

“Is it too early to declare Lovecraft Country my favorite book of 2016? It’s only February, but every new book from here on out has a mighty high mountain to climb if it wants to even come close.”

“[The] characters are some of the most fully realized and human I’ve ever encountered, neither idealized nor stereotyped: they are people, with their own flaws and virtues, all shaped by their experiences with systemic oppression and personal prejudice, and all coping in different ways that consistently ring true psychologically. The sections of the novel are interwoven beautifully… The book is often harrowing, yes, but it’s also a testament to the power of family, community, ingenuity, and love to overcome (or at least cope with) unendurable horrors. It might be my favorite Matt Ruff novel yet, and that’s saying something.” Locus (March 2016)

“The main thing you need to know about Lovecraft Country is that it’s a thrilling story about people who survive incredible horrors and other-worldly nightmares, through a mixture of cunning, bravery and teamwork. It’s a heroic story that will have you pumping your fist. But it’s also an incredibly powerful portrayal of American racism… Ruff has created a story that’s as compelling as it is exciting—and the result is definitely one of the most important books of 2016.” — Charlie Jane Anders, writing for io9

“The list of authors inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft is nigh-on endless, but we can’t remember the last time we read an homage this intelligent and entertaining… Despite their near-constant peril, and the fact that the stories flit between different characters, Ruff does not fall into the trap of making his protagonists victims or ciphers… there’s a real sense of history and affection between them, and their victories are genuinely touching… Rich, intelligent, sensitive and massively entertaining, this is an absolute pleasure.”