Victor Lavalle’s THE CHANGELING

The Changeling
Author: Victor Lavalle
Primary Format: eBook, courtesy of NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group (Random House)
Start Date: November 7, 2017
End Date: November 15, 2017
Rating: 4 stars


“So concerned about being the perfect father, you don’t even notice your child has been snatched away! Replaced in the night by the offspring of a troll, a changeling whose beauty is only a projection of your own vanity.”

Apollo Kagwa is happy with his life: he is a book dealer for his business called Improbabilia, he loves his wife Emma, and he is determined to be a better father to his own son than the father that abandoned him as a child. However, when baby Brian is six months old, Emma becomes convinced that “it’s not a baby,” and commits an act so atrocious that it is difficult for Apollo to recover. When approached by a mysterious stranger who can tell Apollo where to find Emma, he begins a journey to find her and his baby boy.

The beginning was a little slow as we are introduced to the characters. However, even though it seems like it should have been mundane – chronicling the everyday life of caring for a baby – it wasn’t entirely. Instead, the author’s descriptions draw you into this atmosphere of domesticity so you feel cared for and protected and, like Apollo, happy. That is, at least, until Apollo’s world is shattered and he must journey to put the pieces of his fragmented life back together again.

After it started to pick up, The Changeling was actually kind of creepy – definitely wouldn’t recommend if you get easily squeamish. At its core, it’s a story about family and what you’re willing to do to protect them, but it goes so much deeper. It’s about the lies that we convince ourselves are true, even if they really aren’t – the lies we tell ourselves are told to protect the ones we love. In this sense, everyone is a changeling: shrouding ourselves and our actions in a glamour so we can believe that we are better people than we actually are.

The world was full of glamour, especially when it obscures the suffering of the weak.

Sprinkled with fairy tales and magic, the story in The Changeling so intricately wove together what was “real” and what was “magic” so that even the fantastic seemed authentic.

What lengths will people stretch to believe they’re still good?

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group (Random House) for a copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review.

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