Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
The year is 1922, and the Ku Klux Klan runs rampant. Ring Shout is Nebula and Locus award winning P. Djèlí Clark’s transcendent speculative novella re-telling of this period in American history.
There are two parts of the Klan in America at this time, one human (the Ku Klux Klan), the other a horde of supernatural beasts (Ku Kluxers) called to our world through the notorious silent (and real) film, Birth of A Nation, a demonic summoning masquerading as entertainment. It is the Ku Kluxers who drive their human counterparts, who hunt Maryse Bordeaux and her companions. Picture a racist, bone-hued abomination à la Guillermo del Toro, with six red eyes, a beaked face, and a predilection for dog flesh; appropriately these monsters are just that, monsters who are racist and abjectly terrifying.
Maryse and her crew aren’t without their own devices and weaponry. Their fighting capabilities are more than a match for the Ku Kluxers, and Maryse’s crew have their own mythological weaponry and ancestral guidance to call upon. The character roster is deep and compelling: Maryse’s group is soulful and driven with determined hate and purpose; and even Butcher Clyde (Ku Kluxer Management) haunts with a singular creepiness.
The stage is set then for a major showdown between the Ku Kluxers, their human Klan subservients and Maryse’s fighters, to take place, poetically, during a re-screening of Birth of A Nation that is taking place in just a few week’s time.
P. Djèlí Clark’s historical acumen and powerful imagination intertwine with ease, and the result is prose that is compelling, emotional, fantastical and un-put-downable. Ring Shout is a seriously awesome novella from a seriously talented writer, check it out!
Review by Joel
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