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In The Changeling, strange things happen. It is, after all, a self-declared fairy tale for grown-ups, directly referencing Maurice Sendak’s picture book, Outside Over There. But LaValle vibrantly, and yes, realistically, grounds the novel in present day New York City. It’s a straight-up gorgeously written, page-turning story about a horrific act of violence, and about love and family and survival in the world we live in today. The fantastic is braided so seamlessly into the plot, the ideas, the structure and style of the book itself, that you hardly notice when veering into another dimension (and sometimes you’re mistaken). There are no gimmicks here. LaValle’s magic works because it reveals a greater truth than realistic fiction might, just as the best fiction itself can illustrate greater truths than nonfiction. Where is the line between supernatural monsters and everyday evil? Does it matter? The Changeling is brilliant, fun, dark, and deep. A rare treasure.
— Sara, Atlanta
"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