The Changeling – Victor LaValle
Lavalle was new to me, but I like the concept of the story. For many children, a common story they may have heard growing up was Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak, first published 1981. This tale tells the story of a baby that gets snatched by goblins and is replaced with an imposter. I remember this story from my own childhood. It always drew me in and at the same time creeped me out. The Changeling is a re-imagined version of this, a story about mythical baby snatchers in our everyday world.
The story starts off slow, but never boring. You get to know the characters intimately. You have a deep sense of who they are before the horror and adventure begins. At first, I thought the beginning was too drawn out, but I disagree with myself now. I enjoyed the backstory and the beginning, it allowed me to care for Apollo (the protagonist) and his desperate journey to understand his current chaos.
If you have a fond memory of Sendak’s tales, or even if you just enjoy a good mystical mystery, this story is deep and enchanting. I very much enjoyed this read and hope to explore more of Lavalle’s work later on.
The book is yet to be published, but I recommend adding it to your to read pile on Goodreads. Expected publication is June 13, 2017.
One man’s thrilling journey through an enchanted world to find his wife, who has disappeared after seemingly committing an unforgivable act of violence, from the award-winning author of the The Devil in Silver and Big Machine.
“If the literary gods mixed together Haruki Murakami and Ralph Ellison…the result would be Victor LaValle.”—Anthony Doerr
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.
*I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.