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The Ballad of Black Tom Paperback – February 16, 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 2,333 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Full of rage and passion." ―The New York Times Book Review

"This ingenious recasting of an H.P. Lovecraft classic is as creepy as it is thought-provoking." ―
People

"
The Ballad of Black Tom stands on its own as a compelling weird tale of Jazz-age New York City, but its penetrating examination of Lovecraft’s creations and how they reflect racism’s profound influence on our cultural imagination is where it really shines." ―Slate

"Shirley Jackson Award–winner LaValle cleverly retcons H.P. Lovecraft’s infamous story “The Horror at Red Hook,” retelling it with a new protagonist (the titular Charles Thomas Tester, a splendidly Lovecraftian name) and a literary veneer that recalls Chester Himes." ―
Publishers Weekly

"Wonderfully creepy and impossible to put down,
The Ballad of Black Tom is a genre-bending must-read." ―BuzzFeed

"LaValle’s ingenious project involves co-opting Lovecraft’s epic-scale paranoia into the service of a trickster tale." ―
Locus

"Whether
The Ballad of Black Tom is approached as a straightforward tale of horror in the early 20th century or as a metafictional commentary on Lovecraft’s own storytelling choices and racism, it succeeds. It also stands as proof that the process of engaging with the conflicted feelings that the work of Lovecraft can prompt can lead to rewarding, emotionally compelling writing of its own." ―Electric Literature

"This book is full of wonder and horror and pain and magic and I cannot recommend it enough." ―BookRiot

"LaValle crafts a gem of a Lovecraftian novella, cleverly keeping his horrors just offstage. The real power of the story is Tom’s experiences of prejudice as a black man living in early 20th-century Harlem, and how he overcomes and subverts that prejudice, taking on whatever role he has to in order to get by: he is “Charles” to his father, “Tommy” to his friends, and eventually “Black Tom”―one to be feared." ―
Library Journal

"
The Ballad of Black Tom is a fresh take on cosmic horror." ― Dirge Magazine

"Victor LaValle brilliantly takes some of Lovecraft’s literary motifs and transforms them into social consciousness. To say this is no small feat is a major understatement." ―
Diabolique Magazine

"With endless creativity and deft, seemingly effortless prose, LaValle has stolen the deliciously demonic soul of old Howard’s vilest story and made it into something new." ― The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

"A smartly written and well-paced homage that perfectly encapsulates the complicated feelings that many people have towards Lovecraft." ―
SF Bluestocking

About the Author

Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, several novels, including The Ecstatic, Big Machine, and The Devil in Silver, and an ebook-only novella, Lucretia and the Kroons.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers' Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the key to Southeast Queens.

He was raised in Queens, New York. He now lives in Washington Heights with his wife and son. He teaches at Columbia University.


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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tordotcom; F First Edition (February 16, 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 160 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0765387867
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0765387868
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 5.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.04 x 0.44 x 8.09 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 2,333 ratings

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Victor LaValle is the author of a short-story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus, four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver &amp; The Changeling, and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom.

His most recent novel, THE CHANGELING, is an old school fairy tale. It's made to keep you up at night. It's meant to make you scared.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
2,333 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2016
157 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on October 11, 2018
23 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2017
43 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on October 13, 2017
11 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Carmilla
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous prose and an uncomfortable look at racism in Lovecraft and the US
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 20, 2019
5 people found this helpful
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Munkee
2.0 out of 5 stars Where to begin ....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 7, 2022
David Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but diminished by a shallow ending!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 7, 2017
3 people found this helpful
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James Tormey
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reworking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 28, 2020
The Middle Shelf
5.0 out of 5 stars Striking Lovecraftian novella tackling race issues brilliantly
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2018
One person found this helpful
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