H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) is famous for writing weird tales about eldritch monsters and the unfortunate human beings who cross their dreadful paths. He is infamous for being an inveterate racist and xenophobe who depicted nonwhite characters in the most offensive manner possible.
Lovecraft Country (Harper), the new novel from fantasy author Matt Ruff, offers a fresh spin on the horror icon and the fictional universe he created. Set in 1954, Ruff's book follows the adventures of Atticus Turner, a young black veteran; his uncle George, the intrepid publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide; and several friends and family members. They all square off against a series of occult forces and Lovecraftian entities while simultaneously doing battle with the many real-world terrors of Jim Crow America.
Not only is Lovecraft Country a sharp, smart critique of a popular author, it's a fun read and a welcome addition to the genre that also questions aspects of the genre's origins.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "American Horror Story".