Tuesday, June 03, 2008

[Lisa’s Take] The Stolen Child - Keith Donohue

I picked up The Stolen Child at random from McKay’s... it had a pretty binding, and it was cheap cheap for a nice little hardback. I’m easy. Turns out it was a pretty good decision, as the book was a fast, original, and interesting read. I took out basically the entirely thing on a flight between DC and Atlanta, if that says anything for how quickly it reads – definitely a nice Sunday afternoon book.

The Stolen Child builds upon a common fairy tale – the myth that changelings infiltrate households and exchange human babies for goblin replacements. The story follows two boys... the “real” Henry Day, who was stolen away by hob goblins when he was 7, and the “replacement” Henry Day, who was once a goblin, but is now growing up as a human. The book alternates chapters between the two of them, and follows them both as the replacement Henry Day grows up, starts a family, and has children, while the real Henry Day remains perpetually a goblin-child. Not only are there a lot of really creative and interesting fantasy-based ideas in The Stolen Child, but it also touches upon some relatively deep themes.... displacement, betrayal, entitlement, etc.

Outside of the interesting story, the characters are fairly vivid and solidly developed. The prose didn’t blow me away, but it was above reproach and produced a lot of good mental pictures. The blend of fantasy clashing with reality was quite original. Overall the book was very good, and I don’t even really have any knit-picks, which is always a positive sign. Definitely give this one a read if you’re in the mood for some quick escapism that’s not entirely fluff.

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