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The ballad of Black Tom / Victor LaValle.

The ballad of Black Tom

LaValle, Victor D., 1972- author. (Author).

Available copies

Current holds

    0 current holds with 1 total copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Main Fiction LaValle (Text) 31307021855160 Fiction Reshelving -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780765387868
  • ISBN: 0765387867
  • Physical Description: 151 pages ; 21 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : A Tom Doherty Associates Book, 2016.

Content descriptions

General Note:
"A Tor.com book"--Title page verso.
Summary, etc.:
"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?"--provided from Amazon.com.
Subject: African American men > New York (State) > New York > Fiction.
Magic > Fiction.
Doorways > Fiction.
Nineteen twenties > Fiction.
New York (N.Y.) > History > 1898-1951 > Fiction.

Syndetic Solutions - Library Journal Review for ISBN Number 9780765387868
The Ballad of Black Tom
The Ballad of Black Tom
by Lavalle, Victor
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Library Journal Review

The Ballad of Black Tom

Library Journal


(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Charles Thomas Tester is not a very good musician, but he can fake it well enough to make a rough living hustling on the streets of Prohibition-era New York. He takes a job at the home of Robert Suydam, a wealthy man from Red Hook, only to find Sudyam's occult ambitions involve opening a portal to other dimensions and summoning the Sleeping King to Earth. -VERDICT LaValle (The Devil in Silver) 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.-MM © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Syndetic Solutions - Publishers Weekly Review for ISBN Number 9780765387868
The Ballad of Black Tom
The Ballad of Black Tom
by Lavalle, Victor
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Publishers Weekly Review

The Ballad of Black Tom

Publishers Weekly


(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Shirley Jackson Award-winner LaValle (The Devil in Silver) 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. Tester, a con artist in 1924 Harlem with a minor awareness of the occult, occasionally masquerades as a street musician, playing the guitar (poorly) while pulling his hustles. When he's approached by the eccentric Robert Suydam to play at a party, he knows something's awry, but the money's too good to pass up. Before his gig, he encounters a pair of detectives; one is Lovecraft's original protagonist, Malone, and they both seem to know more about Suydam and Tester than would be expected. Once Tester goes to his gig, Malone takes over as the lead character, and LaValle ably conveys both the horrors he encounters and a reconciliation with the original text. The story adeptly addresses social and racial issues that were central to urban life at the dawn of the 20th century, with obvious resonances and parallels in the present. Those familiar with Lovecraft's (weaker) story might get a little more from this novella, but it stands well on its own. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


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