Once again, Victor LaValle spins an intensely imaginative and vivid tale. I had read, thanks to a suggestion from Oprah (well, Oprah.com ☺), his novel Big Machine last year and while I enjoyed it and I enjoyed the characters, it was like Lucretia and the Kroons, in that it is quite fantastical and strange but just really very good all at the same time.
Everyday eBook published this article describing Lucretia and the Kroons and I knew immediately I would be giving LaValle another spin! Even though this novella is classified as horror and young adult, knowing the premise behind the story wasn’t going to let those two categories steer me away.
It is a very quick little novella, at just over 100 pages, it took me less than a day to read. It is the story of Lucretia, or Loochie as she is endearingly called, trying to deal with the impending loss of her very very best friend Sunny. Sunny is dying of cancer and after having a disasterous birthday party with 3 other of Loochie’s “friends” she determines that she will save her ice cream cake for the day that Sunny can come and share it with her.
Her brother tells Loochie this bizarre and horrifying story of the Kroons that live in the apartment above them that settles in to the back of her consciousness. Coupled with that a few tokes of these weird little Chinese cigarettes that Sunny gives her and Loochie is off on a wild and fantastical trip all while being chased by The Kroons. While on this wild and crazy trip, Loochie discovers how to handle the great, great loss of her friend Sunny.
It does close with an abrupt end but otherwise Lucretia and the Kroons is a wonderful tiny tale of a young girl dealing with the loss of her one true and very best friend. Loochie’s handling of the grief of finding her friend so wasted away and dying on that day of her birthday celebration would last a year and then doctors would diagnose Loochie with bipolar disorder. Everyone dismissed Loochie’s fantastical story about the Kroons and Sunny, but she never doubted it was true. (It is also this ending that strikes a chord for those that read Wichita, as Lewis feels he has seen his brother Seth one more time but in such a manner that no one believes him.) I’m giving it 3 stars, it was a tender and touching story combined with some far out fantastical situations. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from Victor LaValle.