Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2017
Source: Library audiobook
|Listened to the audiobook
Content warning for police violence
This book raced up my TBR when I saw it compared to Jordan Peele’s Get Out. This book follows the perspective of two newly-graduated young men, Seth and Carter, who take an interest in collecting records, focusing especially on Black genres and trying to take ownership of the music they claim to appreciate.
Kunzru cleverly immerses the reader in the mindsets of one of these privileged main characters. What really worked here was how they didn’t make any mistakes typical of the horror genre, and weren’t painted to be particularly unintelligent. Things are odd when the refrain of a legendary record repeats throughout the narrative, but the ride doesn’t truly go off the rails until the end. The most effective part? The boys are shitheads, but not particularly unintelligent, which makes what happens later on that much more harrowing and effective when Seth’s understanding of the world and those around him becomes thoroughly upended. It’s a fantastic indictment of privilege and the things money can protect and buy. In addition, it expertly illustrates how appropriation works with a cathartic ending that I cannot go into because the book sticks its landing.
An eerie ghost story that’s somewhat about collecting vinyl records but mostly about privilege and appropriation.