The changeling A novel

Victor D. LaValle, 1972-

Book - 2017

"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"--

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FICTION/Lavalle, Victor
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Subjects
Genres
Suspense fiction
Published
New York : Spiegel & Grau [2017]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
431 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780812995947
0812995945
Main Author
Victor D. LaValle, 1972- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Award-winning LaValle's latest is the story of Apollo Kagwa, beginning with his parents meeting in New York in the late '60s. Apollo learns to cope with life's challenges early in life, being the son of a single mother and growing up struggling financially. But his path leads him to his soulmate, Emma, and it appears that their journey together will be complete when their son, Brian, is born. It's at this point when Apollo's life shows him how dark the world can be. Facing betrayal after betrayal, Apollo's life crumbles around him. It's in his darkest moment that Apollo begins to confront the elements of modern life intertwined with legends and myths that have combined to ruin his life. The Changeling is an example of how good urban horror fantasy can be, a layered story that joins themes important to modern readers with the mystery and wonder of the darker side of fantasy. LaValle's story is reminiscent of Clive Barker's Imajica (1991) and the way China Miéville marries the fantastical with the contemporary. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

LaValle (The Ballad of Black Tom) displays his unique brand of trippy fabulism in his gripping latest, a modern-day fairy tale about a devoted father's confrontation with evil. "The wildness had only begun," says the narrator early on in the novel, a statement borne out by the eerie, fantastic events to come. The son of a Ugandan woman who raised him on her own, Apollo Kagwa scrapes together a living rummaging through estate sales for rare books. The novel takes its time warming up, somewhat leisurely describing Apollo courting, marrying, and having a baby with Emma Valentine, then becoming a so-called "New Dad": a conscientious, diaper-changing, "emotionally available" modern man. Then the wildness begins with a staggering scene in which Apollo's family is torn apart. In his quest to put himself and his family back together, Apollo, steered by a computer-savvy client interested in one of his rare books, journeys into New York City's hidden enchanted places. There he encounters old magic, monsters, and wicked fathers. LaValle makes occasionally strained efforts to weave contemporary concerns—helicopter parenting, online oversharing, and Internet trolls—into this elemental fabric. Nonetheless, the novel works best when immersed in the violent, unpredictable realm of dark fairy tales, which, as one character tells Apollo, "are not for children." (June) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"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"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"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"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

“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 KillingsOne 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