“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
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.
Advance praise for The Changeling
“Fans of the macabre can’t miss the latest offering from prolific horror master Victor LaValle, which hurls us into the most harrowing abyss imaginable: parenthood. . . . Definitely scarier than anything you’ll hear around the campfire.”—Vulture
“Like a good Coen brothers film, this genre-defying, achingly literate phantasmagoria of a novel will work every nook and cranny of the imagination, taking the reader to places we’re either too afraid to visit or never knew existed.”—Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout
“Absolutely compelling, completely thrilling, The Changeling overflows with menace, wonder, and beauty.”—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“This year, the most unsettling novel I read, the scariest novel I read, and the most beautiful novel I read were all the same one—Victor LaValle’s The Changeling. A father who loses his wife and child in an act of horror must hunt them into metaphorical hell to get them back again. This story feels less written, than channeled. I say this without exaggeration: It’s a masterpiece.”—Mat Johnson, author of Pym and Loving Day
“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 (starred review)