READ THIS NOW. READ IT NOW. WHY AREN’T YOU READING THIS BOOK YET? STOP READING THIS POST AND GO GET THE BOOK!
It definitely felt like Ring Shout was all over the little corner of the bookernet that I hang out in, and certainly for good reason!
My (……signed (heart eyes)) copy of Ring Shout came in a Special Edition Decentered Lit box. If for some reason you haven’t heard me mention this company 4,000 times already, PLEASE go check them out. It’s based out of Jamaica, and the woman who runs the show (Kaymara) is a badass and has built a really amazing community. Not only that, but the curations are super-duper-duper-duper thoughtful and high quality. Nothing is random and everything is related to the book in some way. Sometimes the tokens are inspired by tiny details from the story, and that is just the kind of nerdy thing I am here for.
Ring Shout was packaged in a very thematically appropriate red box with matching red shreds inside. Such drama. Loved it.
It came with:
1. A bottle of incredible smelling room spray called Bull Buck from Patchouli Who, another Jamaican company,
2. The most amazing woodmark ever created,
3. A bonkers-cool tentacle-y art card,
4. A mini syllabus curated with P. Djėlí Clark with suggestions for further reading, watching, and listening.
SO THE BOOK!
In a nutshell:
If you take a Ku Klux Klan made up of literal monsters (and monstrous humans, of course) led by a disgusting man-type specimen with a thing for butchery, badass women with various skills and a magic sword, other dimensions with a really unsettling centipede (?) and a woman who speaks in song lyrics, and throw in The Birth of a Nation- you get Ring Shout, a fast-paced dark/horror/fantasy/historical fiction novella.
The Black God’s Drums was the first book I read by Clark, and I was totally blown away. How can anyone build entire worlds built from scratch, and then also tell complete stories in this brand new world in fewer than 200 pages? Boggling.
There is zero chance in the world I will be able to do this book justice. If you think you’re not into this “type” of book, you’re wrong, especially since there’s no neat and tidy classification for Ring Shout. There is something here for everyone. If it isn’t a creepy centipede-ish thing, a sword that appears out of thin air, or booze smuggling, then let it be the incredible humanity it contains. Yes. Incredible humanity in a book about monster Ku Kluxes.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but there is a section about hate that just blew my mind open a little bit wider. Any book with the potential to crack people open should be shouted about from the rooftops.
I’ll include a little bit of it here that I don’t think will give much away:
“You see, the hate they give is senseless. They already got power. Yet they hate those over who they got control, who don’t really pose a threat to them. Their fears aren’t real- just insecurities and inadequacies. Deep down they know that. Makes their hate like . . . watered-down whiskey.”
“The places where we hurt. Where we hurt. Not just me, all of us, colored folk everywhere, who carry our wounds with us, sometimes open for all to see, but always so much more buried and hidden deep. I remember the songs that come with all those visions. Songs full of hurt. Songs of sadness and tears. Songs pulsing with pain. A righteous anger and cry for justice.
But not hate.
They ain’t the same thing. Never was.”
So, read the book.
A few other things to click on:
- Check out this story that is related to the novella. It won’t spoil anything, but I’ll let you decide if you want to read it before or after Ring Shout.
- Any post from @ifthisisparadise on Instagram in general, about Ring Shout in particular for the purposes of this post, but this post in particular particular, because it is amazing.