Review: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle

Fills in Diverse Authors square


The reason I read this book for this square is that someone on the bingo discussion boards here mentioned it and liked it. The book I originally chosen for the square was a contemporary romance, but I felt that didn't stay true to the spirit of Halloween Bingo. I have not (and refuse to) read anything by HP Lovecraft, and you don't need to either to enjoy this book.


This story takes place in the 1920s NYC. I loved the atmosphere the author gives to the story, as if I time travelled back to the era. From the clothes to slang to the realities of life for African-Americans and immigrants, there was a so much historical accuracy as well as surreal elements that created an engaging story. Black Tom was the anti-hero that I couldn't help but root for; I also connected to Malone, but not as deeply as with Black Tom. The length of the story was perfect, leaving me satisfied in a short 93 pages. I definitely want to read more from LaValle in the future.