In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan's ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die.
Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan's demons straight to Hell. But something awful's brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up. Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?
P. Djèlí Clark is no stranger to the novella, and Ring Shout, a demonic horror twist on the Jim Crow South, is the newest addition to his collection. In Ring Shout, Clark gives us a world where the release of The Birth of a Nation in 1915 was a ritual performed by white men to summon demons — and not just any demons. Ku Kluxes are pale, pointy-headed entities existing alongside human members of the Klan, terrorizing Black folk and intentionally feeding the Klan's racist hatred ... Clark's craft and thoughtfulness are best seen in his use of history. Ring Shout navigates the thorny waters of using real events, as we've recently seen in TV shows like Watchmen and Lovecraft Country ... I finished my first reading of Ring Shout easily, in a single sitting; once the story picks up, it keeps hitting hard, climbing — no soaring — to a cinematic finish, with character beats that hit beautifully.
Tananarive Due, in her essay 'Black Horror Rising,' discusses the role of racial trauma in horror fiction, writing that 'horror can help us allegorize racial monsters to help us to confront true-life fears.' ... One Black writer using the horror genre to its full potential is the award-winning P. Djèlí Clark, whose new novella, Ring Shout is a fantastical, brutal and thrilling triumph of the imagination ... Clark’s combination of historical and political reimagining is cathartic, exhilarating and fresh, casting a narrative spell as enchanting as HBO’s adaptation of Watchmen. It is the kind of reimagining of history that puts the act of storytelling, and the art of the horror genre, at the forefront of literary and political life.
P. Djèlí Clark is well known in the world of speculative fiction for his unique ability to seamlessly take key pieces of history and morph them into the fantastical ... Clark is back in October 2020 with a new release likely to be just as successful with fans and critics alike: Ring Shout ... The foundational concept of Ring Shout is ingenious — Clark turns the monstrous humans who were members of the Ku Klux Klan into actual monsters that must be destroyed. However, there are also many other historical counterpoints which Clark creatively twists and moulds into his unique fantasy world of prohibition-era Georgia ... Simply put, Ring Shout is a brilliant piece of speculative fiction. In just the length of a single novella, Clark presents a history lesson, copious amounts of action and adventure, social commentary that is critically important in the United States today, and all the elements of fantasy one could desire ... There are so many more layers readers need to unfurl for themselves as this cleverly crafted, vastly moving novella builds in intensity until the very end. So, I will simply leave you with this … go grab a copy of Ring Shout!