Author Matt Ruff — A Forgotten Favorite
I read Ruff’s debut novel, Fool On The Hill, in a previous life. It’s the type of book that becomes a part of your eternal DNA, even if you accidentally forget it ever existed. In listing my favorite authors and novels on my Facebook Author page and Goodreads, I failed to make a note of Fool On The Hill. I have since made good on that oversight. Ruff’s story has so much going on that it is difficult to pinpoint one narrative to discuss. That, plus I can’t recall most of it. But that doesn’t change the fact that whenever I think of it, I want to run down to my basement bookshelves and dive right into my old copy. One of these times, I will.
What I do remember is that the plot revolves around a man who can control the wind. Or maybe, the wind is the man? I know there are a lot of nefarious factions working against him in the collegiate town of Ithaca, NY — fantastical armies and magicians and such. My brain needs a refresher. Clearly this is not a book review, but an exercise in literary cheerleading for a wonderful tale everyone should read, at least once. By the sound of it, probably at least twice.
All I know is that, back when I first consumed Fool, I found it to be a fresh-faced fantasy — an entirely new story from the ones I was accustomed to reading. The novel (from what I can recall) wafts, sometimes sweetly, sometimes rough through town, just like the very wind itself. Though I’m a little embarrassed I can’t do justice to the plot, I can say with conviction that books like these inspire me to write, because of the lasting impressions they leave behind. Authors like Matt Ruff and Christopher Moore, Tom Robbins and Kurt Vonnegut are experts at not just spinning a careful yarn, but imbuing an everlasting touch of familiarity upon the reader. I want to be that writer. Heck, I want every writer to be that writer — one who can have an impact on a reader some distant day in the far-flung future. To have them experience a flood of happy memory-emotions when the book pops back up into their conscious thoughts, form out of nowhere.
One Book, Two Covers
This was the book I read all those years ago. I know that I originally purchased it due greatly to this amazing cover. I found the art to be simplistic in its whimsy, inviting in its mystique, and I just had to have it. A cover goes a long way toward a reader’s decision whether or not to buy. After all, it is literally our first impression of story! This cover won me over instantly and I’m a tad sad to learn the publisher decided to change it. I’m sure they had their reasons.
Over here we have Fool’s current cover. I don’t know details but I assume it was re-released once or twice and somewhere along the way, the publishing company made the decision to go with this. It has the same minimalistic quality as the cover that drew me in, once upon a time, but the South Park-esque jaggedness of the art offers a sense that disjointed dangers lie within. That’s OK. I’m not going to knock it. Though I clearly prefer the original cover’s breathing space.
Lovecraft Country: A Novel
The new (as of three years ago) Ruff book looks great, albeit an entirely a different genre. From what I can tell, it appears to be an African American horror story with fantastical elements. I can’t say much else until I get into it. I don’t much care for going to deep into reader reviews for fear of spoilers. But I do have high hopes.
It appears HBO made (is making?) a series based on Ruff’s new (3 years!) novel. Neat! I hope they don’t Dracarys it to death.
Ohhhh! Sick Game of Thrones burn!
Maybe someday I’ll have some words about that particular book series/show. But what do we say to our Game of Thrones analysis within a Matt Ruff bloggy?
Of What I’ve Read of Lovecraft Country
I was going to end this bloggy with the GoT stuff but a) That would have been off message and 2) I have since read some of this book! I downloaded a sample and crushed it! Without hesitation I dashed back to the Amazon Kindle store and purchased my very own digital copy.
I’m at 19 percent already and I can’t put it down. I think this is partially because the protagonist and his narrative are so far removed from my own experience that it’s really incredible (and terrifying) to be placed in his shoes. I’ll save any more commentary for a future review. But being that I’ve been addicted to my Kindle Unlimited subscription this past couple months, it really says something for a book that can pull me away from “free” borrowing.
Do you know what we say to ending this bloggy and returning to Atticus’s story?
Meh. Tonight? Now?
Oh just go read.