#Novella Ring Shout
Finish date: 11 September 2022
Genre: dark fantasy novella (176 pg)
Review: Ring Shout (ISBN: 9781250767028)
Themes: – horrors of racism, resistance, hate, trauma
Characters: – Maryse Boudreaux, Chef (Cornelia) and Sadie.
Plot: Ring Shout tells the story of an otherworldly evil that
has risen in the 1920s South in the form of monsters who take up residence within the bodies of people filled with hate – namely the Ku Klux Klan.
Motif: a sword — a mystical one that simply paints a picture in the reader’s mind through repetition of imagery.
Good news: LOVE the cover! It just says: “Read me!”
Good news: Real cinematic quality writing … I could see the characters and scenes and events unfolding so clearly in my head. Best part: description of Butcher Clyde: “…sores break out along his skin…little mouths…they move about under his skin like maggots..” (pg 81) See also the cover of the book…can see the mouths with white jagged teeth!
Good news: Clark has done his homework. He blends history with fiction. He takes key pieces of history and makes them fantastical in his writing.
I learned about the origins of the KKK …how it was named and who started the first klan.
I learned about D.W. Griffith’s move “Birth of a Nation” from another perspective! The 1915 D.W. Griffith infamous ‘classic’ film is used to summon Ku Kluxes who are non-human entities of the human Ku Klux Klan. On (pg 81) Clark mentions “…make the invisible Empire strong.”
This is a reference to book (1930) by D. F. Horn Invisible Empire: Story of the KKK 1866-1871.
Good news: The tables are turned. In one sentence Clark tells us that black folk are calling the shots! Maryse says: “I hunt monsters—they don’t hunt me.” (Pg 80)
Bad news: Supernatural with a whiff of horror…not a book I would normally read. But that is the benefit of a reading challenge like RIPXVII …I open myself up to other genres. There are several “dream scenes” that Clark suddenly weaves into his narrative. At times I struggle to switch from reality to a faraway realm. It isn’t Clark’s fault…it is me. My imagination has not been challenged and supernatural or fantasy books I just have to learn to read!
Bad news: I had difficulty following the dialect that some of the characters use. Remember “buckrah debbil “ = KKK’ers infected hate and they can morph into monsters! I just have to go with the flow.
Good news: Original narrative idea…story of Maryse Boudreaux and her band of badass women as they storm through early 1920s Georgia on a quest to find and eliminate the monsters she calls “Ku Klux.”
There’s nothing more appealing than “badass women” on a mission!
PS: Clark is also an academic historian!
Clark uses the mystery that hangs about the Ku Klux name to create a supernatural / horror story. I thought “Ring Shot” would be the central motif….but it turned out to be the “supernatural sword. Strong point: …bringing in alternate takes on history while mixing in more traditional fantasy elements. If you read this novella …be warned…there’ are a few pages of of slithering and crawling pieces of flesh! Skim if you are squeamish! #JICK