It’s the last week of my #Lovecraftedreadalong and I have to say, I have LOVED IT! One of the last stops is today’s book review, Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff.
“Stories are like people… Loving them doesn’t make them perfect. You try to cherish their virtues and overlook their flaws. The flaws are still there, though.”
Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff is a thrilling mystery with an original cast of characters and an important message.
The story is split up into parts rather than chapters and follows the story of a black family who have unfortunately become the main interest of an ancient cult. Each part progresses the main story and also focuses on a particular family member with a side plot. I loved the episodic structure to the book and I can honestly see why Abrams wanted to snap it up for a tv series! Really looking forward to that!
I have to say, I could talk about this book forever. But, as this is a no spoiler review, I’ll do my best to convey just how wonderful this text is without giving anything away. This book is… stunning. It made me reflect about my own relationship with Lovecraft and perfectly summed it up in a quote as early as page 13 (see above quote). It made me realise that although authors and stories have their flaws, we are still allowed to love them. Matt Ruff takes on a well known flaw of Lovecraft’s and projects this onto the characters who each have their own opinions.
What surprised me was just how emotional this story is. Yes, it’s a cleverly crafted horror novel inspired by one of the most profound American writers, but it’s mainly a story about a family. I found parts of the novel terrifying, yes, but I also felt so much emotion for other parts too. I enjoyed all the characters, and I think Leticia and Horace were my favourite, whereas Ruby was the most interesting.
If you’re hoping for a Lovecraft tale bursting at the seams with monsters and aliens and giant elder gods, this is not the book for you. If you want a story about representation, the heart of Lovecraft, ghosts, an ancient cult, dark magic, and warlocks… this IS the book for you! You don’t have to have read any Lovecraft in order to read Lovecraft Country, but I was delighted at the homages to him as well as other authors I love. You will probably recognise a few classic tales reflected in this book! This is a must-read for all horror and Lovecraft fans!
And I’m also happy that Shoggoths got a few mentions!
Lovecraft Country 4.5/5 stars
Here are a few prompts/discussion questions:
• Do you feel the same way about Lovecraft having read this book?
• Who was your favourite character and why?
• Has this inspired you to read/re-read any Lovecraft stories?
• What do you think the wider message of this story is?