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3.5 

The Ballad of Black Tom

By Victor LaValle
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

One of NPR's Best Books of 2016, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, the British Fantasy Award, the This is Horror Award for Novella of the Year, and a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Awards

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there.

Charles 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. 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 a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

"LaValle's novella of sorcery and skullduggery in Jazz Age New York is a magnificent example of what weird fiction can and should do."
— Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

"[LaValle] reinvents outmoded literary conventions, particularly the ghettos of genre and ethnicity that long divided serious literature from popular fiction."
— Praise for The Devil in Silver from Elizabeth Hand, author of Radiant Days

“LaValle cleverly subverts Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos by imbuing a black man with the power to summon the Old Ones, and creates genuine chills with his evocation of the monstrous Sleeping King, an echo of Lovecraft’s Dagon… [The Ballad of Black Tom] has a satisfying slingshot ending.” – Elizabeth Hand for Fantasy & ScienceFiction

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

499 Reviews

3.5
Anxious Face with sweat
Multi-layered charactersDescriptive writingAddictiveSuspensefulTwistyUnpredictableImmersive settingRacismViolence
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“Oh. My. Old. Gods. When Black Tom kneels down and says "I'd pick Cthulu over the pair of you devils", to the white men who both dehumanized him in their own ways, I felt my heart absolutely shudder to a STOP. Victor LaValle is yet MORE proof that cosmic horror is better told by Black and Indigenous people. Top five books of the year so far, hands down!”
Thumbs Up“This book had great ideas. But unfortunately it was a little clunky. Didn’t have a great flow. I still enjoyed it. But I think only because it was a Novella. Still an interesting story with good plot points and ideas but not super well executed.”
Diverse charactersImmersive setting
“This book lives in my head rent free, and I hope Lovecraft rolls over in his grave every time someone reads it”
Fast-pacedSuspensefulDarkThought-provokingRacism

About Victor LaValle

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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