the changeling

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

This genre, horror, has me all sorts of confused. 

I've seen this novel referred to as both horror and also magical realism. I've also seen references to it as showcasing postpartum depression. I have to respectfully disagree with all these assessments. I felt the trauma experienced by the mother in this story had nothing whatever to do with postpartum depression, even if the characters around her initially perceived it to be so.

You, however, might read and disagree with me. 

I don't want to say too much about the plot because it unfolds so nicely without spoilers, or even without super mini spoilers. Try not to read much beyond the synopsis and even that would be best avoided, honestly.
 
In any case, I've found an author I quite like in LaValle. He's done an excellent job here of taking fairy tale lore and transforming it to modern day New York City; as to whether the suggestions of fairy tale associations pan out are left to the reader to discover. But LaValle does an amazing job of setting up even contemporary NYC as almost surreal and fable-like even before the hints of other-worldiness creep in. 

Most of all, I was entranced by the portrayal and developments of the relationships. By the time Apollo's son, Brian, was born, I was hooked on their love for one another and and their son. Because of the basic synopsis, I knew trauma was looming and the affection I already felt for the characters at that point just fostered my trepidation. 

Random House provided an advanced copy for my review and this novel was released last week on June 13th. 

I've been interested in The Ballad of Black Tom but mixed reviews kept it off my more immediate radar. I will likely reconsider reading that one and I will definitely be looking forward to LaValle's next novel.