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Oct 24, 2020 2 comments



By: Matt Ruff

Performed by: Kevin Kenerly

Audiobook Review *Spoilers*

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Audio Performance Review

    Kevin Kenerly gives a solid performance his pacing for the story seems spot on, not rushing through the story or speaking so slow that you lose focus. If your one of those who likes to crank up the reading speed, you will be able to follow along well. Kevin Kenerly range in character voicing does a great job supplementing who is talking keeping the book easy to follow. The production is as basic as it gets and they did it to perfection no breaks or skips in audio, no music overlaid the narration, no studio noises (swallowing or page flips). I give his performance four headphones, Kevin Kenerly performance will not carry you away into another realm but he will keep you interested all day.

    Chapter 1: Lovecraft Country

    The first story is Lovecraft Country, this is the story of Atticus Turner traveling to Chicago to meet up with his Father in response to a letter received while he was in Florida. The story picks up after Atticus leaves Kentucky and the Jim Crow south behind. Just inside of Indiana, Atticus driving his tire blows out and his spare was flat. Atticus in his hunt for a new tire ends up spending the whole day trying to get a tire, and compared to much of the racism experienced in the rest of the book seems light. The accumulation of all the "small racism" added up to an entire day lost for what was a ten minute job. This is an elegant point that was missed in the show, about how even small racism can make your entire life behind.

    Atticus makes it to Chicago and finds his father is not there, and goes looking for his family and stops by his Uncle George who publishes the "safe negro travel guide" a travel guide to make sure Black Americans could travel and know where they would be welcome. I enjoy the "Safe Negro Travel Guide" it reminds me of "Hitchhikers'' guide to the Galaxy", I wondered if this was a nod to the Hitchhiker's series, Atticus, Uncle George, and Montrose (Atticus Father) discuss all the sci-fi novels that were read and how the ideas in stories can break your heart but you love them anyway. Many of these books bring me back to the novels read in the past and all the emotion built in to listening to a great story.

    After a little investigation Atticus and Uncle George think they know where , Atticus dad Montrose, is in Ardham Massachusetts where H.P. Lovecraft stories were inspired this is where the title Lovecraft Country comes from. They decide to leave and are joined by Letitia, a fellow sci-fi book lover and childhood friend of Atticus, until she needed to work for her family. A common theme of the book is racism mostly in the north, at times the racism that the main characters face can seems overwhelming. Some may feel the amount of racism may be too much, but the characters in this book can't turn away from them, and in many fantasy tales people travel from town to town facing adversity, the racism fulfills that role. The racist are the monsters of this tale.

    Atticus and company arrive in Ardham and they are confronted by a new reality only before read about in books, they are treated with curiosity but not acceptance. Atticus finds he his from a rare blood line and could be a "Natural Philosopher" the magic users of this world. Atticus soon finds out the cost of finding his father and his role in upcoming events. Atticus eventually leaves Ardham from home knowing more about the language of Adam and it's potential. This is the closest of the stories to the show and the potential in this story really showed through in the first episode, my wish is that the same care was taken from the rest of the stories. Since each chapter is a short story I give Chapter 1, 4 out of 5 stars.

Chapter 2: Dreams of the Witch House

    I really enjoyed this story, Letitia receives an inheritance from one of her fathers business associates. Letitia expecting a blessing from God from her help in the first story believes that she needs to do something good with the money. She wants to be a pioneer and goes to Uncle George for advice, using his contacts from "The Safe Negro Travel Guide" puts her in contact with a real estate broker. Pioneering, the first black home owner in a white neighborhood, and the experiences and hurdles that would be placed in her way every step of the way. Letitia shows her dedication and resolve and eventually buys the Winthrop House

    Letitia moves into the knowing the house is haunted, but the amazing price and opportunity solidified belief the God has ordained her path. Ruby, Letitia sister, moves into one of the rooms in the house that is more of a mansion and the ghost and neighbors quickly make it known that they are not welcome in that house. The ghost story here is done very well had me completely wrapped in the story. Letitia eventually sticks a deal with the ghost and the neighbors learn that someone with the resolve and resourcefulness of Letitia is a situation best left alone.

Chapter 3: Abdullah's book

    A short story in the truest sense Atticus, Uncle George, and Montrose are coerced by the by the Natural Philosophers of Ardham to retrieve a book for a show of goodwill for the Natural Philosophers of Chicago. Having no idea of how to do this they go to the Prince Hall Freemasons and enlist the help of the officers of the lodge. Then they all go on a short and fun adventure.

Chapter 4: Hippolyta disturbs the Universe

    This story really struck my sci-fi heart and enjoyed the imagery, since listening the Commonwealth saga by Peter F Hamilton, I love wormholes and 1950s Hippolyta has found one. Hippolyta, Georges wife, loves astronomy since her father brought home a telescope and they spent hours looking for stars and the hidden planet X. Then walking through Letitia house a draw opened up near her with a list of the best observatories in the United States, with one entry she had never heard of that was hand written. Hippolyta adventure is an interesting one but advances the narrative in minor ways.

Chapter 5: Jekyll in Hyde Park

    Rose finds herself reluctant to go into her haunted home, and is approached by a member of Ardham. not knowing who he is decides to go with him even though he is white and all the dangers that holds for her. She receives a proposal that would let her become white and give her a home, if she runs errands for him since he is being watched. Rose accepts and goes on merry adventures, enjoying her new found freedom and respect. Then she learn the cost of that freedom, and learns that not all cost are paid by the receiver. The Ardham member tells her the truth and his relationship with her family. History lessons are taught in this story and there is much imagery on major racial points throughout every story, those lessons never seemed to land.


Chapter 6: The Narrows House

    Ardham has once again approached Atticus and Montrose to hire them to retrieve spell books from the son of the ghost that lives in Letitia home. Atticus and Montrose set out to look for the son finding that not all pioneering stories have happy endings, and Montrose goes into him surviving the massacre at Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK. The story telling here is interesting, but found my mind wondering and having to repeat portions of the audio.

 Chapter 7: Horace and the Devil Doll

    Horace, son of George and Hippolyta, finds himself questions by Natural Philosophers of Chicago about an incident near a observatory. Unable to answer any questions and not wanting to get his mother in trouble, Horace knows little and says little. So a curse is placed on him, this is the episode with the creepy girls but completely different and HBO by changing the imagery they lost the point of the tale. Here Horace finds himself watched by the logos of popular brands and traditions that used racist imagery. The story here demonstrating how these figures followed black people around, and could harm them. Horace also finds that he is unable to tell anyone of this problem, and Rose helps him find a solution. This was another story that was done very well and had my complete attention.

Chapter 8: The Mark of Cain

    After the incident with Horace, Ardham comes up with a plan to take end the threat from the Chicago Natural Philosophers. Ardham approach the family to help set up the Chicago branch and kill them. The family gets together sharing their individual stories and deeds and decide its time to take matters into their own hands. REVENGE! Good ending to the book I couldn't have asked for more.


    I enjoyed many of these stories and overall really enjoyed the book, it was different enough from the HBO series that I didn't feel like I was rehashing the same material. After watching the HBO series the novel felt like familiar favorite characters going through new tales.




  1. I watched this whole series in 2 days. I loved it! Now, I totally wanted to listen to the audiobook. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Angela, sounds like you would like the audiobook.


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