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Lovecraft Country
By Matt Ruff

Discussed April 2020

Buy Lovecraft Country from Amazon.com

Characters:

  • Atticus Turner
  • Montrose Turner (Atticus's father)
  • George Berry (Atticus's uncle, publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide)
  • Hippolyta Berry (George's wife)
  • Horace Berry (son of George and Hippolyta)
  • Ida (woman stranded on Hiram's Planet by Hiram Winthrop)
  • Letitia Dandridge (longtime friend of Atticus)
  • Ruby Dandridge (Letitia's sister, aka "Hillary Hyde")
  • Samuel Braithwhite (head of the Adamite Order of the Ancient Dawn in Massachusetts)
  • Caleb Braithwhite (son of Samuel Braithwhite)

Sections of Lovecraft Country:

  • "Lovecraft Country" – rescuing Montrose Turner from the Braithwhites
  • "Dreams of the Which House" – Letitia and the haunted Winthrop House
  • "Abdullah's Book" – the Berry family's Book of Days, Hiram Winthrop's The Book of Names and the "pocket universe" in the Museum of Natural History
  • "Hippolyta Disturbs the Universe" – Hippolyta's adventures on Hiram's Planet via the "interplanetary gate" at the Winthrop Observatory in Warlock Hill, Wisc.
  • "Jekyll in Hyde Park" – Ruby Dandridge's cross-racial adventures with Caleb Braithwhite and power plays within the Order of the Ancient Dawn
  • "The Narrow House" – Montrose meets the Winthrops in another dimension
  • "Horace and the Devil Doll" – Horace Berry is threatened by a "devil doll" controlled by Caleb Braithwhite's opponents in the Order of the Ancient Dawn
  • "The Mark of Cain" – everyone gets involved in the final battle with the Chicago chapter of the Order of the Ancient Dawn

Questions:

  1. What did you like the most about Lovecraft Country? What did you like the least?
  2. In your opinion, is Lovecraft Country a horror story?
  3. What did you think about the "inter-locking stories" format of Lovecraft Country?
  4. How "Lovecraftian" (style and/or content) is Lovecraft Country?
  5. Compare/contrast Lovecraft Country with Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom (discussed at the October 2019 book discussion). Do they both "flip" Lovecraft?
  6. If you are familiar with the actual Negro Travelers' Green Book, what do you think about the way The Safe Negro Travel Guide is depicted in Lovecraft Country?
  7. This is the second Matt Ruff novel that has been the subject of an LSF Book Discussion. The first was Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls (many years ago). If you have read Set This House in Order, how does it compare with Lovecraft Country?
  8. Atticus Turner and George Perry often express their interest in classic F&SF and comic books. Do you think this reflects the author's own interests; or do you think that's all "background details"? Have you read any of the authors or books mentioned?

Lovecraft Country Handout

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