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Victor Lavalle

Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, three novels, 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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The Ballad of Black Tom: A powerful reimagining of a weak Lovecraft tale

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The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

In the late 1920s, H.P. Lovecraft went to visit New York City. He was appalled — appalled! — to discover that the city, especially certain neighborhoods, was crowded with immigrants and people with dark skin. Don’t take my word for it; here are his own in a letter to his friend Clark Ashton Smith, and from a Lovecraft story:

… young loafers and herds of evil-looking foreigners that one sees everywhere in New York.
(Letter to Clark Ashton Smith)

From this tangle of material and spiritual putrescence the blasphemies of a hundred dialects assail the sky. Hordes of prowlers reel shouting and singing along the lanes and thoroughfares, occasional furtive han... Read More