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Publisher's Summary

Named one of the most anticipated books of the season by The Washington Post and 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.
©2017 Victor LaValle (P)2017 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"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)
"LaValle has a knack for blending social realism with genre tropes, and this blend of horror story and fatherhood fable is surprising and admirably controlled.... LaValle has successfully delivered a tale of wonder and thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a parent. A smart and knotty merger of horror, fantasy, and realism." ( Kirkus Reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Diane on 08-07-17

Fractured Fairytale

So this is what a fairytale for grownups looks like--full of the darkest horror with wishes for a happy ending. I had very much looked forward to this book as I am a great believer in the truths that can be learned from folktales, fairy tales, mythology and the like, but this attempt at a modern re-telling did not work especially well for me.

After a painfully slow start, the story gathers steam with the subway birth of a baby which eventually devolves into a nightmare experience of parenthood. Yes, parenthood does teach us much about ourselves--from newly discovered feelings of intense love and protectiveness, to feelings of alienation and horror at the degree of rage and even impulses to violence we are capable of feeling. In the manner of fairytales, LaValle externalizes these negative feelings, embodying them in monsters and their minions, making it possible to commit the most horrific of acts and still be the perfect parent. I suppose that the author intends to embody Emma's feelings of intense love for her baby while simultaneously feeling overwhelmingly alienated from both her child and husband (postpartum depression?) but I still find her response to these dark forces hard to accept.

I did enjoy the use of NYC to create a dreamlike setting and the use of technology as a backdrop. As for the narration, this is an occasion where the author would have been better leaving it up to others--fairly expressionless and with little effort to distinguish among the characters.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Queequeg on 08-11-17

Interesting Fairy Tale Told Well

I'm amazed that anyone can read so slowly. I had to adjust the audio to 1.5x and still it sounded close to normal speech. But the prose was expertly crafted and the story kept my attention, even when there seemed lapses in time or logic. I also bought the hardbound novel, switching back and forth between them, and I think I enjoyed reading it more than listening to the author.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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