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The Changeling Audiobook

The Changeling: A Novel

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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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (170 )
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4.3 (156 )
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Performance
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  •  
    L. Michael Gipson Chicago, IL United States 07-02-17
    L. Michael Gipson Chicago, IL United States 07-02-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Slow Start, But Pays Off Big"

    This is a slow burn of a story that demands you trust it for a good long while before it begins the fairytale adventure aspects of its journey, but boy does it deliver. Magical realism in the modern era done right. Finely detailed so that you don't miss a single moment, big or small. Plotted by a master who left no stone unturned. Bravo!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M Lehan Mackin 07-05-17 Member Since 2014
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    "great storytelling"

    The word improbabilia lured me in and the storytelling did not disappoint and kept me complelled.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bridget C. 11-09-17
    Bridget C. 11-09-17 Member Since 2013
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    "When Papa was away at a book sale..."

    11.03.2017
    I think I'm a 1/3 of the way through this book so far.
    I love this book, even more so because I've just had the singular experience of stopping an audiobook and jotting down Patrice's slow cooker lemon chicken recipe and I'm now making it for dinner. I have never cooked from a novel. I'm excited.

    11.10.2017
    This book was incredible and listening to LaValle narrate it was incredible. The melding of myth and now was amazing and I wasn't even mentally tsk tsking over how the use of an iPhone or referencing Maurice Sendak will date the novel in the future because this story is timeless and it doesn't matter.
    We had lemon chicken and olives again tonight.

    AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Ewing, NJ, United States 10-24-17
    Tracy Ewing, NJ, United States 10-24-17 Member Since 2008
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    "Odd, slow at times yet fascinating"

    Ok so the narrator of the story has a cadence that is more like story telling and not performance so it’s something to get used to.
    The story itself is hard to pin down- it’s a curiously well written approach to s I fi. There are many unanswered questions such as why did Apollo’s wife attack him in such a brutal way? What happened to the women and children trying to escape the island? If these questions seem baffling expect to feel that way most of the story.
    Was it worth the credit? Yes- in the end it is a ride into fantasy that is worth taking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill 09-15-17
    Bill 09-15-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A true storyteller"

    Wow. This guy is good. Real good. A true storyteller.
    If you aren’t reading Victor LaValle, then I suggest that you remedy that. Like right now.
    You will thank me later.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Sutton San Francisco, CA 09-09-17
    Joan Sutton San Francisco, CA 09-09-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Extreme violence"

    For me this turned out to be horrifically bloody and seeming to really enjoy the gory details. All the while the murderers are viewed by the narrator and themselves as maintaining a kind of sweet innocence totally justified.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoDanna Wishon 08-16-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Do not read!"

    This book was terrible. Do not recommend it. It was long, very strange, very wordy. Should have been half the length of it. Don't waste your time.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Queequeg San Francisco, CA 08-11-17
    Queequeg San Francisco, CA 08-11-17 Member Since 2016
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    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 08-07-17
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 08-07-17 Member Since 2010
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    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Steel Oregon 08-05-17
    S. Steel Oregon 08-05-17 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "imagination unbound"

    This book is crafted with care by someone who obviously was a skald, or a bard, or a storyteller in another life. I don't know Victor Lavalle's other work but this story draws you in and makes you want to listen; want to know what happens next. In part (of course) because the author reads his own work - and compels you to listen by the simple inflections of tone. Thanks V.L. I really enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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