Matt Ruff’s previous book, The Mirage, was about a world where the various Arab states were united as a single country with a strong, secular representational democracy and the United States was divided up into smaller, poor, squabbling Christian fundamentalist nations that had more than a few terrorists shooting out of it. It was an interesting book, seeing the real-world USA and the Middle East essentially switch places with each other, but didn’t quite stick the landing.
Lovecraft Country takes another angle: the story follows a group of African Americans living mostly in 1950s Chicago, most of them relatives to each other, and has them dealing with the twin forces of evil. On the one hand, there’s the sorcerous cult with quasi-Lovecraftian overtones that are out for power and looking to use the protagonists as their own pathways to power. On the other hand, there’s the more real world problem of extreme racism the characters face every day.
SPOILER-FREE review after the cut.