History is haunted. Ghosts are injustice persevering.
So many horror stories hinge on that idea, but for Tananarive Due it’s more personal than that. Her new novel, The Reformatory, is borne from the ghosts hidden in her own family history.
The story takes place in a hideously cruel juvenile correction facility, in a racist town, in the 1950s. As you can imagine, very few good things happen to her child protagonist.
We talk about the link between horror and history, about writing from her family tree, about the very real reformatories that persisted into the modern era, and about looking cruelty full in the face and wrestling it into story.
This conversation is the perfect context for a near-perfect novel.
- The Only Good Indians (2020), by Stephen Graham Jones
- The Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America (2012), by Gilbert King
- Kindred (1979), by Octavia E. Butler