Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Stolen Child

Keith Donohue

The interconnected stories of a changeling who steals the life of a boy, and the boy who becomes a faery in his place. It was a strangely subdued and quiet book, well-written and often moving, but there is a surface gloss to the story that kept me from really understanding the undercurrents, what Donohue was trying to say about a child's place in a family, growing up, feeling alienated, especially parents dealing with damaged children. In the last third of the book, you start to get a little bit of that, and then it is over, and you've got a story that was somehow deflating.

The book's gotten a lot of attention and good reviews, however, so maybe I am missing something.


Blogger David said...

I think the change of pace and somewhat inconclusive ending express the evolution of the search for identity. Both Aniday and Henry Day begin to discover that the identity that they have so long sought was in the relationships with their new families. They’ve been chasing after (chasing away) something that they already had. I also think that in the last chapters of the book, Donohue is very honest about the emotional lives of men. Men are isolated. They perceive allies and competitors, but recognizing other relationships is more difficult.
If you’re interested in good recent speculative fiction, you might be interested in A Brief History of the Dead (Brockmeier) and The Limits of Enchantment (Joyce). Both follow the same sort of unromantic if not harsh magical realism that Donohue explores. Joyce leaves the reader often questioning the narrator’s sanity, in much the same way Donohue does.

12:13 PM  

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