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The Stolen Child

A fairy-tale for adults, Keith Donohue's novel The Stolen Child is the story of the double life of Henry Day. Inspired by the W. B. Yeats poem The Stolen Child, "...Come away, O human child!/To the waters and the wild..." Donohue's novel centers around the idea of changelings, faeries who kidnap human children and replace them with one of their own. Then the kidnapped child becomes a changeling and waits for his turn to re-enter the world. The changelings live for decades, frozen in the body they were kidnapped in, unable to grow until they switch with a human children. The real Henry Day is kidnapped, and switched with a changeling who has been waiting for a little under a century. The human Henry Day becomes Aniday, the changeling. The unnamed changeling becomes Henry Day, a perfect son. The parallel stories of the Henry Days unfold through their respective perspectives. Originally, I found Henry Day's narration (the new Henry Day, not the changeling Aniday who was formerly Henry Day) more riveting because it showed him struggling with concealing his history, pre-changeling and changeling, as he tries to fit back into the human world. Yet, at the end of the novel, I liked Aniday as a narrator better because of his overarching transformation. The novel itself a really interesting commentary on identity - how the changelings completely transform into a human - the physical appearance is identical, yet the personality and the qualities change. Mr. Day had his suspicions about the changing nature of his son, but Mrs. Day never seemed to notice - or didn't want to. The Stolen Child is completely grounded in reality, besides the idea of the changeling, and the novel scarily seems completely plausible. The novel is prefaced with lines from the poet Louise Glück, "We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory." Rating: ★★★★

House of Sand and Fog

State of Wonder