The Changeling

The Changeling

eBook - 2017
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Random House, Inc.
“If the literary gods mixed together Haruki Murakami and Ralph Ellison, the result would be Victor LaValle.”—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

“A dark fairy tale of New York, full of magic and loss, myth and mystery, love and madness. The Changeling is a mesmerizing, monumental work.”—Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

One of Time’s Top 10 Novels of the Year • One of USA Today’s top 10 books of the year • A New York Times Notable Book

When Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared, all he left his son were strange recurring dreams and a box of books stamped with the word IMPROBABILIA. Now Apollo is a father himself—and as he and his wife, Emma, are settling into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. Irritable and disconnected from their new baby boy, at first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go even deeper. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act—beyond any parent’s comprehension—and vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Thus begins Apollo’s odyssey through a world he only thought he understood, to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His quest, which begins when he meets a mysterious stranger who claims to have information about Emma’s whereabouts, takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever.

This captivating retelling of a classic fairy tale imaginatively explores parental obsession, spousal love, and the secrets that make strangers out of the people we love the most. It’s a thrilling and emotionally devastating journey through the gruesome legacies that threaten to devour us and the homely, messy magic that saves us, if we’re lucky.

“Like a woke Brothers Grimm, his clever new spin on the ages-old changeling myth is a modern fairy tale for the Trump era.”—USA Today (four out of four stars)


“Victor LaValle’s fabulist ode to fatherhood and fairy tales offers a new take on themes as old as time.”—O: The Oprah Magazine


Baker & Taylor
Resolving to commit to marriage and parenthood unlike the father who abandoned him, Apollo Kagwa, who suffers from bizarre dreams, is shocked when his wife commits an act of astounding violence before disappearing, compelling Apollo's odyssey through a world he barely understands. By the award-winning author of Slapboxing With Jesus.

Baker
& Taylor

"Apollo Kagwa has had strange dreams that have haunted him since childhood. An antiquarian book dealer with a business called Improbabilia, he is just beginning to settle into his new life as a committed and involved father, unlike his own father who abandoned him, when his wife Emma begins acting strange. Disconnected and uninterested in their new baby boy, Emma at first seems to be exhibiting all the signs of post-partum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go far beyond that. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act--beyond any parent's comprehension--and vanishes, seemingly into thin air. Thus begins Apollo's odyssey through a world he only thought he understood to find a wife and child who are nothing like he'd imagined. His quest begins when he meets a mysterious stranger who claims to have information about Emma's whereabouts. Apollo then begins a journey that takes him to a forgotten island in the East River of New York City, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest in Queens where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever. This dizzying tale is ultimately a story about family and the unfathomable secrets of the people we love"--
"The wildly imaginative story of one man's thrilling odyssey through an enchanted world to find his wife, who has disappeared after having seemingly committed an unforgivable act of violence, from the award-winning author of The Devil in Silver and Big Machine"--

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau,, 2017
ISBN: 9780812995954
0812995953
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks

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a
anniemae
Feb 18, 2018

Fairy tales for adults, go from modern day New York to magical islands with witches and monsters
What does "Happy ever after really mean"?

KateHillier Dec 17, 2017

That was one wild ride into deep and dark territory. Apollo, who is named like the hero in a fairy tale, has a rather bumpy childhood and grows up to become a book dealer. When he meets and marries librarian Emma Valentine (another great name) all is happy and good up to and including the birth of their son. Then Emma starts acting weird and does something utterly horrific, or did she really?

If you don't know what a changeling is I won't explain it here or make an effort to ruin it here. Suffice to say Apollo goes looking for his wife and son in an underworld of New York that can almost take on Neil Gaiman's London Below in horrors and nightmare fuel. You also may never want to share anything online ever again after this. Timely, imaginative, creative, creepy, weird and wonderful. If dark fantasy/fairy tales/urban fantasy is your thing I highly recommend this.

n
Novel_Librarian
Sep 28, 2017

LaValle introduces us to Apollo Kagwa, from the meeting of his parents through to his marriage to Emma and the birth of their child. A moment of extreme violence rips Apollo's family apart and he must set out on a quest through a mythological New York City to reunite them.

This novel had beautifully drawn characters and, perhaps even more importantly, beautifully drawn relationships between characters: between Apollo's parents; Apollo and Emma; Apollo and his friend Patrice; even between secondary characters like Patrice and his girlfriend Dana. LaValle fully imagines this world that Apollo is in, including the people. And then, of course, there is the fine rendering of New York - the regular New York, from the 1960s to the present; and the mythological New York, replete with witches and trolls. It's a story that I think will age well while also having very timely considerations woven through it - the effect of technology on anonymity, certainly, but also the way a black man must move through the city in very specific ways. A tremendously satisfying read all the way through.

The first half is pretty straightforward literary fiction, while the second half is more fantastical - it will be interesting to see how many fantasy readers will be patient through the first half, and how many literary fiction readers will stay with it after it becomes fantastical. For readers of the increasingly popular subgenre of fairy tale inspired fiction (writers like Helen Oyeyemi, etc).

d
doyoureadme
Sep 27, 2017

I fell for the NYT review and read the book halfway before giving up. Incoherent, puerile, and filled with grammatical errors. Easily one of the worst books I've ever encountered. Complete rubbish, and a waste of time.

s
Squid_1
Sep 21, 2017

A hundred pages in and I asked myself "Where is this going?"
I stopped reading it and turned it back. It seemed to lack substance.

s
star2014
Aug 14, 2017

In the genre of horror fiction, this is one of the best novels I have ever read. I made myself read it slowly, since I sincerely did not want to reach its ending. The author has a way with words, making his characters believable within a "not so believable" storyline. This is definitely a horror novel on an entirely different level. Thank you Victor Lavalle...

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