The Ballad of Black Tom MOBI ☆ of Black PDF/EPUB

10 thoughts on “The Ballad of Black Tom

  1. Elena May Elena May says:

    Nobody ever thinks of himself as a villain does he? The Ballad of Black Tom is a retelling of H P Lovecraft’s story “The Horror at Red Hook” Full disclaimer I’m not familiar with Lovecraft’s works I’ve read uite a bit about him but never read his actual writing Fans will probably perceive this differently but from my newbie point of view this was an atmospheric pleasantly weird page turner that easily stood on its ownI have to admit I liked the historical fiction elements much than the fantasy parts We see this richly described and absolutely beautiful version of 1920s Harlem through Thomas Tester’s eyes Walking through Harlem first thing in the morning was like being a single drop of blood inside an enormous body that was waking up Brick and mortar elevated train tracks and miles of underground pipe this city lived; day and night it thrived Before Thomas Tester goes through a creepy transformation he can see beauty in everything despite the poverty and oppression Seeing Harlem through his eyes I also found it charming And that’s unusual – in the recent years I’ve lost my ability to find charm in busy crowded cities When I first visited NYC I thought it was amazing and loved how alive it was But then I spent some time in very overcrowded places such as Hong Kong and Singapore and then over a year in London and now I’d choose a uiet place where you can hear the birds singing over a crowded metropolis on any day And yet I read this and I loved 1920s HarlemAnd then we get CthulhuYeah I admit I never got the appealThe fantasy elements aren’t as impressive as the historical There isn’t much world building as the book is essentially a Lovecraft fanfic so the mythos is already there I’m not the best judge on how well that was done but still some things didn’t make sense A mysterious old lady who is hinted to be a powerful non human entity goes through a lot of trouble to get The Supreme Alphabet and then never seems to use it The Alphabet has been in her possession for a week when she is easily defeated and doesn’t seem to put in any struggle Also our protagonist Thomas Tester Black Tom becomes powerful off screen I would have preferred to see how he gets thereThe book’s greatest strength seems to be that it takes the incredibly racist source material and creates a critical retelling Indeed in some ways The Ballad of Black Tom tackles the topics of racism prejudice and police brutality in the US really well It may all seem a bit cartoonish and heavy handed at first but not in the way that makes readers pat themselves on the back and say “Well done It was sooo bad back then but we don’t have these problems any” On the contrary – while we see that it was indeed horrible back then the parallels to what is happening nowadays are clear and uncomfortable The real horror is that almost a hundred year later things haven’t changed all that muchBut this is also what bothers me the most about this book It tries to be a reaction to Lovecraft’s racism but at the same time it creates an exoticised mystical violent and dehumanized image of immigrants Robert Suydam the rich white man who plans to summon Cthulhu invites a group of fifty recent immigrants he plans to use as allies Tester knew how to recognize a room full of roughnecks This bunch ualified Suydam had haunted waterfronts and back alleys to find this crew of cutthroats The kind of place Tommy imagined the Victoria Society would be was what these criminals called home sweet home We never hear them speak We never learn anything about their lives or even learn their names All we see is their reaction to Robert Suydam’s plan to destroy the world as we know it and rise from the ashes They shouted back They clapped each other on the shoulders Founding fathers of a new nation or even better a world now theirs to administer and control ALL OF THEM??? Not a single one uestions the plan? Not a single one disagrees? They are an indistinguishable monolithic block and the only one who stands out is Thomas Tester – the one born and raised in the USWhile immigrants are mentioned all over the book not a single one ever speaks The only kind of exceptions are when a woman says something in a language the detective doesn’t understand so we are practically told she speaks but not what she says and when Thomas Tester’s friend remembers two brothers from Fiji long dead who mentioned Cthulhu Hmmmm Fiji has a rich and original mythology and all of this is erased and replaced by Lovecraft’s creations Not coolI also have to mention that there are no female characters in this book and no I’m not going to call the non human entity that barely speaks or the nameless witness “characters” Since the majority of main characters could have been gender swapped easily this skewed all male world in an urban setting appears to be the author’s choice for whatever reasonOverall while not perfect the novella is fun fast paced and thought provoking Readers unfamiliar with Lovecraft can still understand and appreciate it Perhaps Lovecraft fans will enjoy it even I read this book as a part of my goal to read all Hugo finalists

  2. Kat Kat says:

    yeah so anyway if any of u horror lovers out there haven't read this yet DO IT

  3. Edward Lorn Edward Lorn says:

    Even before I found out Lovecraft was a humongous shitstain of a human being I didn't like the way he wrote His prose is a bit too antiuated for my tastes So when I found out he hated all skin tones darker than Elmer's glue it didn't bother me because I already didn't like the guy Am I dumb enough to think all his fans must be racist because he was? No I know plenty of radically non racist individuals who love his stuff These folks can look past the artist to appreciate the mythos he created Good on them The problem for me is I'm not even a fan of his mythos Suid faced gods and monsters so ugly the author can't be bothered to describe them never have done much for me It's all too easy to say Oh snap That thing is so scurry my mind can't even wrap around it yo I wish all of us could get away with that; describing everything as too scary to describe It would make being a horror author much easier So why did I read this? Well Gregor Xane read it and shared with me the epigraph which reads For HP Lovecraft with all my conflicted feelings You see Victor LaValle is a mixed dude who grew up reading Lovecraft When LaValle was in his teens he found out about Lovecraft's extreme racism but decided to play with the old Aryan's mythos anyway I respect that The idea of the offendee reimagining an offender's work piued my interest Kinda like what would happen if the crew over at Kidz Bop paid tribute to Michael Jackson Too soon? Anyfuck that's why I read it And I'm glad I did because this motherfucker was damn good I also find it hilarious on several levels that LaValle does Lovecraft better than Lovecraft did Lovecraft The Ballad of Black Tom is first told from the POV of Tommy Tester a dude who becomes the titular Black Tom At exactly the halfway point the POV switches to a detective named Malone While Tom's section is of an introduction Malone's section brings home the creepy gory bacon The description of Ma Att's shadowtail whatever the fuck was so subtle and well done it actually raised gooseflesh on my forearms I honestly cannot remember the last time a simple grouping of words affected me physically I am in awe LaValle nailed that scene I can say truthfully it's in my top ten scenes ever written The descriptions of the monster under the water and the low note played throughout the piece were eually well written As for the story itself? It's definitely my cuppa tea A slow burn that goes into a bit of what the fuckery before the ending leaves our protagonist forever changed I dug the fuck out of this little book and I want In summation The Ballad of Black Tom is now my forerunner for Novella of the Year 2016 I'll be looking for LaValle as this one has officially made me a fanFinal Judgment Eye opening Gregor Xane shared this link with me after I read the book I suggest you read it too you know AFTER you read this story It's Victor LaValle explaining why he tackled this particular story and its characters

  4. Emily (Books with Emily Fox) Emily (Books with Emily Fox) says:

    I don't know what I was expecting but certainly not that in a good wayI have a complicated relationship which shorter books Too often I feel dissatisfy with them as they're simply missing something probably contentIt wasn't the case at all with the dark fantasy set in New York A lot of people compare it to Lovecraft which I have yet to read but I'm now looking forward toWould recommend

  5. Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin says:

    35 Okay I have never read Lovecraft's Cthulhu I want to but there are so many different editions I don't know which one is the best This book is supposed to be referenced but I wouldn't know There is one uote from the book Malone finally heard the last words Black Tom whispered down in the basement I'll take Cthulhu over you devils any day I was a little bored with the book in the beginning because I couldn't figure out what was going on but after awhile it clicked somewhat and it was great The scene down in the basement my favorite I loved Black Tom himself Once again if again if anyone can give me some good rec's to the best Cthulhu book I would greatly appreciate it 😊 Oh and put them under the comments because I have GR book recs disabled I only see a book review from there if I'm going to read that particular book Thanks Mel ❤️

  6. Karl Karl says:

    It seems to be my month for trying new authors not read prior and also I noticed all of the good press here on GR from friends and others so I thought I would give “The Ballad of Black Tom” by Victor LaValle a goI read the book in one sitting and perhaps TMI didn’t even take a bathroom breakThis should say something about author Victor LaValle’s ability to capture a reader and keep him enthralledThe book begins by telling a story about a young black street hustler in the 1920’s New York street and music scene Mr LaValle introduces a bit of tension and begins to incorporate aspects of Cosmic Evil and it’s relation to our main character This brought about a kind of ha ha moment as I asked myself “Why does the evil so often arrive in the form of a book?”At this point we are switched POV characters to a New York policeman who happens to be interested in the worlds underbelly of sinister evil itselfThen all hell breaks loose as our Cthulhu tries to enter our world through an opened gateway and wreaks havoc with New York’s finest and a slew of anti aircraft weapons Mr Victor LaValle manages to pull the whole thing off with style and grace thus making it necessary to add to my book collection of this authors creations

  7. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    Tommy Tester is a hustler doing what he has to to make ends meet and support his ailing father When he meets Robert Suydam things will never be the sameI've always been a bigger fan of things inspired by HP Lovecraft than the man's actual work It's certainly been a good few months for HP Lovecraft inspired fiction for me First there was Carter Lovecraft then Lovecraft Country and now this novella the Ballad of Black TomVictor LaValle has taken The Horror at Red Hook called Lovecraft's most racist book by some and turned it inside outTommy Tester delivers a magical tome to an old woman runs afoul of two detectives and meets up with an old man bent on waking The Sleeping King from his dead and dreaming slumber Needless to say a lot happens in this slim bookThere was a viewpoint shift about halfway through While I didn't think Malone was as interesting as Black Tom the story couldn't have been told without him LaValle does a fantastic job of capturing the Lovecraftian flavor of The Horror at Red Hook and makes it his own I loved the ending of this book Hell I devoured the whole thing in one sitting45 out of 5 stars I'll be watching Victor LaValle with great interest

  8. Kevin Kelsey Kevin Kelsey says:

    “Every time I was around them they acted like I was a monster So I said goddamnit I’ll be the worst monster you ever saw”A story juxtaposing Lovecraftian mythology against the racism and ineuality of 1920s New York is so deliciously poetic; it left me amazed that no one had thought of it before now I love that this constant ineuality ends up being reason enough to justify drastic desperate action to bring about its end by dealing with forces the protagonist doesn’t fully understand but welcomes wholeheartedlyThoroughly enjoyable

  9. karen karen says:

    although lovecraft hails from the great state of rhode island and providence plantations and we have few enough literary feathers in our tiny hat and because there are apparently rules about who can be claimed and who cannot and cormac mccarthy’s moving to memphis from his providence birthplace at four years old an age where he was basically luggage and certainly not choosing to leave the ocean state behind nonetheless renders him ineligible to be counted as one of us i have never been a lovecraft fanand wouldn’t it be commendable if i could claim to be all aglow with high minded outrage disliking him on principle finding his racist and misogynistic views so unacceptable that they caused me to boycott his work in an admirable if somewhat smug demonstration of righteousness? but that ain’t even it i tried reading him when i was like twelve and i just found it boring and cheesy and the horror euivalent of panning away from the romantic leads just before they give in to their passion in a very naked way everything was suggested occluded and i wanted to see the good bloody stuff thank you very much but as it happens apart from writing boring ass stories lovecraft was a super douche and by all accounts cormac mccarthy is a professional decent and humble gentleman so you’re welcome tennessee this book is lavalle’s reworking of lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook which is apparently considered to be lovecraft’s “most racist ever” despite the existence of his poem On the Creation of Niggers which goes a little something like this When long ago the gods created EarthIn Jove's fair image Man was shaped at birthThe beasts for lesser parts were next designed;Yet were they too remote from humankindTo fill the gap and join the rest to ManTh'Olympian host conceiv'd a clever planA beast they wrought in semi human figureFilled it with vice and called the thing a Niggerthat is stunningly toxic but at least it is very short if The Horror at Red Hook is somehow even racist and also longer and probably also filled with his brand of “dude this horror i’m writing about is so horrifying i can’t even tell you about it seriously it would blow your mind too much just trust me it is super scary wwwwOOOoooo” well i’m happy to avoid it all of this to say that i have no clue how this novella functions as a response to or a reworking of the original all i know is that i enjoyed lavalle’s writing particularly the way he scrapped that turgid lovecraftian vocabulary and chose to employ a modified version of lovecraft’s inexpressible horror where the horror is at least partially expressed; described enough so it retains a sense of mystery without leaving the reader with nothing bonus points for name dropping the fine little rhody towns of pascoag and chepachet which were mentioned in the source material so no biggie there yeah i researched this read the wikipedia page what? but for ALSO mentioning woonsocket the location of the hospital in which i first drew breath i don’t know what is happening there but it seems about rightto conclude hchokengtitiktitikchokeng lovecraft an unpleasant man with a gigantic head buried in the cemetery where i used to smoke pot and take gothy picturesvictor lavalle a man from ueens represent who seems uite affable and counters lovecraft's bullshit with this book and a photograph i am calling the horror at red tonguecome to my blog

  10. Char Char says:

    45 stars“Nobody ever thinks of himself as a villain does he? Even monsters hold high opinions of themselves” In The Ballad of Black Tom we have a Lovecraftian novella written by a phenomenal black writer It's set in the 20's which was not exactly the best time to be a black person in this country LaValle has taken the Lovecraft story The Horror at Red Hook and turned it on its head To that I say BravoAs a blues fan I'll add an extra BRAVO for the Son House lyrics Don't you mind people grinning in your face? Why yes As a matter of fact I do My highest recommendation

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The Ballad of Black Tom ➽ [Reading] ➿ The Ballad of Black Tom By Victor LaValle ➲ – People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't thereCharles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table keep the roof over his father's head from Harlem to Flushi of Black PDF/EPUB ✓ People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't thereCharles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table keep the roof over his father's head from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook The Ballad eBook ☆ He knows what magic a suit can cast the invisibility a guitar case can provide and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops But when he delivers an occult tome to Ballad of Black PDF Ê a reclusive sorceress in the heart of ueens Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic and earns the attention of things best left sleepingA storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn Will Black Tom live to see it break.