Monday, October 23, 2017

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

Apollo Kagwa's father abandoned his family when Apollo was young, so when Apollo and his wife Emma have their first child, he is determined to be a better dad.   Fortunately, his work as a used book dealer can be done from home, so he is able to be a stay-at-home dad to young Brian, taking him to the park and on trips to acquire books from estate sales.  Emma goes back to her job as a librarian, and it seems like everything is going fine.

There are a few odd notes, though.  Emma receives pictures of Brian from an unknown number, and the pictures  disappear before she can show them to Apollo. Then Emma begins to disconnect from her child.  Apollo assumes it's post-partum depression and Emma goes on medication, but the disconnect continues to grow, with Emma insisting that Brian is not her child.  Not even human.

Then Emma's delusions lead her to act, and tragedy strikes.  She disappears.  Apollo's fury at Emma leads him on a quest to find her, but along the way, he begins to realize that things are not what they seem.  New York City is home to older and darker things than he ever knew.

This book is technically urban fantasy, but some of the monsters are men, and the casual racism that Apollo has to live with day to day is in some ways as much as an obstacle as any mythical beast.  The sense of reality is further developed by the strong sense of place.  The Changeling really drew me in and kept me reading.  I can see this book appealing to fans of American Gods (book or TV series) who want to branch out and explore the contemporary fantasy genre

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