I’ve followed Matt Ruff’s career since his 1988 debut novel Fool on the Hill, a modern fairy tale set in the campus of Cornell University. His more recent novels include Set This House in Order, the tale of a man with hundreds of personalities who’s asked to assist a co-worker also afflicted with multiple personality disorder, and The Mirage, an alternative history of 9/11.
His latest novel blends historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror as it follows a black man on his journey across America. A journey in which he faces police harassment, discrimination… and the attentions of something far darker.
Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide — and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite — heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’s ancestors — they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.
At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal named the Order of the Ancient Dawn — led by Samuel Braithwhite and his son Caleb — which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his — and the whole Turner clan’s — destruction.
A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two black families, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism — the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.
Lovecraft Country will be published by Harper on February 16, 2016. It is 384 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $11.99 in digital format.