H.P. Lovecraft and Joshua Chaplinsky’s “Kanye West-Reanimator”
Written by: Nathan Crazybear
This past year, for a very, very, brief period of time, the Internet got super excited when it was revealed that LitReactor Managing Editor Joshua Chaplinsky had written “Kanye West-Reanimator.” From the Indie Lit community to the likes of Vice and Entertainment Weekly, the novella’s ridiculous concept and perfect cover art generated a lot of buzz. A hilariously clever retelling of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic “Herbert West-Reanimator,” but with rapper and self-proclaimed “greatest living rock star on the planet,” Kanye West as the protagonist, Chaplinsky’s novella is one hell of a fun read.
“Kanye West-Reanimator,” mirrors the dark horror classic it parodies exactly, while inserting Yeezy into the story as our Herbert West. While Lovecraft’s protagonist was a medical student working to bring the dead back to life, Kanye seeks reanimation via his musical prowess, fine tuning each of his songs until he can finally bring life to the lifeless. Chaplinsky does an excellent job of capturing Lovecraft’s voice to tell the story, though drops the author’s antiquarian tendencies (so you can leave the dictionary on its shelf), and injects the work with tons of humor by way of fusing the plight of Herbert West with Kanye’s personal life and musical career.
“The waiting was gruesome, but Kanye never faltered. Every now and then he applied his ear to the chest of the specimen, and bore the negative results in typical Kanye fashion: by throwing a fit and going on a non-sequitur rant.”
Kanye West is one of the most interesting and vocal celebrities of the day, but while his fame is gargantuan, the events following his career may not be as well known to everyone that picks up this book; therein lays the limit to the accessibility of “Kanye West-Reanimator.” Chaplinsky’s humor is very clever but many of his references (i.e. Damon Dash, autotune on 808’s, the death of Kanye’s mother) can escape those unfamiliar with West’s life and work. This parody, while truly a joy to read, is funniest when read through the lens of a Kanye fan more than just the Lovecraft fanatic.
Joshua Chaplinsky has delivered a very funny reworking of the Lovecraft classic while interweaving the life and work of contemporary cultural icon Kanye West. Fans of Lovecraft will appreciate Chaplinsky’s retelling but it’s perhaps those that typically put on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” right before sitting down to read “Dagon,” that will truly love this horror comedy.
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This sounds entertaining…I can always use a good laugh and Kanye West may well be a perfect way to achieve that while using him in this story.