Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Stolen Child

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue is a story inspired by the poem of the same name written by W. B. Yeats. This book should become a classic. It is an adult version of a fairy tale and would make a great movie. It is a powerfully moving story about family, childhood, love and loss. I did not want this book to end!

This is taken from the first page of the first chapter: “Or better yet, I am a changeling-a word that describes within its own name what we are bound and intended to do. We kidnap a human child and replace him or her with one of our own. The hobgoblin becomes that child, and the child becomes a hobgoblin. Not any boy or girl will do, but only those rare souls baffled by either their young lives or attuned to the weeping troubles of this world. The changelings select carefully, for such opportunities might come along only once a decade or so. A child who becomes part our society might have to wait a century before his turn in the cycle arrives, when he can become a changeling and reenter the human world.”

This pretty much sums up the premise of the book. It is a double story, one of Henry Day, who is kidnapped in 1949, and of the changeling who replaced him. Henry is seven years old when he is taken and is renamed Aniday by the changelings. The changeling who took Henry’s place in the human world begins to be haunted by vague memories of his past human life (before he became a changeling), which is very confusing for him. The book is alternately narrated by Henry and Aniday, as each attempt to discover who they really are/were.

This is an amazing book. And it is the writer’s first novel. I am so amazed at the depth and character development in some of the first novel’s that I have read. Oh, to be able to write like that!

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