The Changeling (Hardcover)
Fairy tale writing of a high, brilliantly imagined order is at work here in Victor Lavalle's newest (summer 2017, this is) novel. At the outset, seeming to be a conventional enough story of a New York City book-loving freelance book dealer who falls in love, marries, and, with his wife, sets out to live life, including having a child. All of that happens- this reads at times like a primer for new parenthood, all the routines, how life seems unbelievably altered from the time before child. And then things start to happen. All manner of things, online and off, in a New York City we might know, and in a New York City that we might not. How enchanted is all of this? You won't be able to put this down until you reach the end. Victor Lavalle does it here.— From Rick
"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 A summer reading pick by The New York Times - O: The Oprah Magazine - Vulture - PopSugar - Publishers Weekly 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. "LaValle's haunting tale weaves a mesmerizing web around fatherhood, racism, horrific anxieties and even To Kill a Mockingbird."--Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"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
About the Author
Victor LaValle is the author of six previous works of fiction: three novels, two novellas, and a collection of short stories. His novels have been included in best-of-the-year lists by The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, and Publishers Weekly, among others. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Book Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Key to Southeast Queens. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids and teaches at Columbia University.