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The Stolen Child: A Novel

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The Stolen Child: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780385516167
ISBN10: 0385516169
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"Quite often important books are marginalized by obtuse prejudice, and I hope this will not be the fate of Keith Donohue's utterly absorbing The Stolen Child....On the surface, Donohue may seem to have written a clever debut novel about fairies. But the real triumph of the book is that, while our backs were turned, he has performed a switch and delivered a luminous and thrilling novel about our humanity." Graham Joyce, The Washington Post Book World (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Inspired by the W.B. Yeats poem that tempts a child from home to the waters and the wild, The Stolen Child is a modern fairy tale narrated by the child Henry Day and his double.

On a summer night, Henry Day runs away from home and hides in a hollow tree. There he is taken by the changelings — an unaging tribe of wild children who live in darkness and in secret. They spirit him away, name him Aniday, and make him one of their own. Stuck forever as a child, Aniday grows in spirit, struggling to remember the life and family he left behind. He also seeks to understand and fit in this shadow land, as modern life encroaches upon both myth and nature.

In his place, the changelings leave a double, a boy who steals Henry's life in the world. This new Henry Day must adjust to a modern culture while hiding his true identity from the Day family. But he can't hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the true Henry never displayed), and his dazzling performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he ages the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Of a time when he, too, had been a stolen child. Both Henry and Aniday obsessively search for who they once were before they changed places in the world.

The Stolen Child is a classic tale of leaving childhood and the search for identity. With just the right mix of fantasy and realism, Keith Donohue has created a bedtime story for adults and a literary fable of remarkable depth and strange delights.

Review:

"Graced with telling period touches...the novel resurrects an America that now seems as exotic as Middle Earth....Donohue's sparkling debut especially delights because, by surrounding his fantasy with real-world, humdrum detail, he makes magic believable." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"An ingenious, spirited allegory for adolescent angst, aging, the purpose of art, etc., that digs deep. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Donohue paints a vivid picture of American life from the 1950s into the 1970s and the pressures on a boy who, in addition to not being entirely human, is growing up in the Vietnam War era, when attitudes toward sex, drugs and patriotism were undergoing a sea change." USA Today

Review:

"Despite the fantastic element, Donohue anchors the book in a mid-century America that feels specific and real. A haunting, unusual first novel..." Library Journal

Review:

"Told in alternating stories, the voices of the young boy and the changeling provide vivid contrasts. Donohue is masterful at evoking time and place, and The Stolen Child will resonate with anyone who longs for their youth." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Review:

"Enchanting....Donohue seamlessly blends the fantastical and the real here, with a matter-of-fact approach to the magic that exists on the edges of everyday life. This is a mysterious journey told in lyrical prose." BookPage

Review:

"The Stolen Child is unsentimental and vividly imagined. Keith Donohue evokes the otherworldly with humor and the ordinary with wonder. I enjoyed it immensely." Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife

Review:

"The Stolen Child is a truly remarkable work on the ancient legend of the changeling. Keith Donohue's poignant take on the myth, rooting it in our time, and telling it from the alternating viewpoints of the two changelings, makes for one of the most touching and absorbing novels I have read in years." Peter Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn

Synopsis:

THE STOLEN CHILD is the story of Henry Day, a seven-year-old kidnapped by a strange group living in the dark forest near his home. He is stolen by changelings—ageless beings whose secret community is threatened by encroaching modern life. They give Henry a new name, Aniday, and the gift of agelessness—now and forever, he will be seven years old. In keeping with tradition, the group has left another child in Henry’s place. This changeling boy, who has morphed himself into Henry’s duplicate, must adjust to a completely new way of life and hide his true identity from the Day family. But he can’t hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the real Henry never displayed), and his near-perfect performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he grows older the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Both Henry and Aniday search obsessively for who they were before they changed places in the world.

Narrated in the alternating voices of Henry Day and his double, THE STOLEN CHILD is a classic tale of the search for identity and leaving childhood. With just the right mix of fantasy and realism, Keith Donohue creates a literary fable of remarkable depth and strange delights. The result is a bedtime story for adults, which will appeal to readers charmed and captivated by such recent bestsellers as Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and The Confessions of Max Tivoli and by the classics of Tolkien and J. M. Barrie.

About the Author

Keith Donohue lives in Maryland, near Washington, D.C. For many years, he was a speechwriter at the National Endowment for the Arts. The Stolen Child is his first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Silvers Reviews, September 24, 2011 (view all comments by Silvers Reviews)
Fairies, trees, switching places, family, trust, secrets, longing to return........

Henry Day was tired of babysitting his sisters and ran into the woods after his mother insisted that he help more with them. The changelings took him that very afternoon.

The changelings steal children after watching their daily routines for about a year to see if the child is the right one for the change and if it is the life the fairy would want to live. The "stolen" child who replaces the fairy has to adapt to new surroundings, learn new things, and become used to a new life without any familiar people or family. The fairy duplicate usually makes out better since he knew everything about the stolen child and his family thus making acclamation to the new life in the human world a lot easier.

The changelings that lived in the forest were scavengers, thieves, and had mean dispositions....they ate bugs, berries, killed rabbits and squirrels, and stole things from the humans…they went directly into homes and businesses. The descriptions of their antics, how they lived, and what they did “grabbed” you so much that it made you afraid to go into the back yard in case they were hiding there doing their nightly stealing of clothes off the line or food in the houses since they could slip through any cracks by making their bodies squeeze thin. :)

The book goes back and forth describing the lives of the switched children...each telling his story...the one growing into adulthood and the other remaining a child.

A childhood stolen is what I would call what happened...I felt bad for the AniDay (Henry Day), the child who was taken by the changelings and went into the fairy world...he seemed to have a difficult time with the change…he wanted to go back, but couldn’t…he had to wait his turn. It would be difficult to forget everything from your past, but eventually they do.

The book was interesting, definitely different, and also so mysterious that you couldn't stop reading, but you also kept looking over your shoulder....4/5.

I enjoyed it as the pages continued to turn…the ending was thoughtful and heartwarming.
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lmarus2001, December 30, 2007 (view all comments by lmarus2001)
An intriguing and haunting take on the doppelganger myth. Characters both human and mythical guide the reader through the transformation from innocense to self-awareness and acceptance. Highly recommended for lovers of the fantasy and coming-of-age genres.
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(2 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Janet Fairchild, January 23, 2007 (view all comments by Janet Fairchild)
Don't miss this book! Whatever you may think it's about from the reviews, it is really "about" much, much more.

From the reviews, I expected a horror story, or a dark fantasy. On its surface, this is a surprisingly un-horrible, and realistic-feeling story of a child who is stolen by fairies and the changling who takes the stolen child's place in life. The details of this story are so seamlessly written that it is wholly convincing and totally involving.

The meta-story underneath the changling fantasy begins with that of the child whom each of us is when born -- the inchoate talents, proclivities, and hopes for each new life.

Then that incipiently perfect child is "stolen" and "changed" into the feral child, who lives a life largely hidden from the adults and acts primarily according to the rules of childhood and without much regard for adult-made rules. All the while, the feral child is spying on adult life without much comprehension of what makes parents and other authority figures lead their lives as they do.

Ultimately, the feral child is replaced by the adult, who has been formed and l imited by the previous adult generation's rules. This new person has largely forgotten the life and needs of the feral child and faces a tremendous struggle to realize even a fraction of the talents and possibilities of the child as whom he/she was born.

As a fantasy or fairy tale, The Stolen Child is highly literate, beautifully executed, realistic in style instead of fantastic.

As a psychological tale of the soul, this book is terrifying, beautiful and as disturbing as the reader may wish it to be: Our options in life are many, but they tend to go unnoticed or forgotten, repressed as every new stage of life demands that we become yet a different person. And the more successful we are in assuming each new stage of our lives, the harder it becomes to remember who (else) we were when we were born, and who (else) we might be even now, or even how we got from the person we were then to the person we are now.
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(7 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385516167
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Donohue, Keith
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
Pianists
Subject:
Fantasy - Contemporary
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
May 9, 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A&quot;<br><i>--Entertainment Weekly</i><br><br>&q
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.34x6.72x1.10 in. 1.37 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Contemporary

The Stolen Child: A Novel Used Hardcover
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$5.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385516167 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Quite often important books are marginalized by obtuse prejudice, and I hope this will not be the fate of Keith Donohue's utterly absorbing The Stolen Child....On the surface, Donohue may seem to have written a clever debut novel about fairies. But the real triumph of the book is that, while our backs were turned, he has performed a switch and delivered a luminous and thrilling novel about our humanity." (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)
"Review" by , "Graced with telling period touches...the novel resurrects an America that now seems as exotic as Middle Earth....Donohue's sparkling debut especially delights because, by surrounding his fantasy with real-world, humdrum detail, he makes magic believable."
"Review" by , "An ingenious, spirited allegory for adolescent angst, aging, the purpose of art, etc., that digs deep. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "Donohue paints a vivid picture of American life from the 1950s into the 1970s and the pressures on a boy who, in addition to not being entirely human, is growing up in the Vietnam War era, when attitudes toward sex, drugs and patriotism were undergoing a sea change."
"Review" by , "Despite the fantastic element, Donohue anchors the book in a mid-century America that feels specific and real. A haunting, unusual first novel..."
"Review" by , "Told in alternating stories, the voices of the young boy and the changeling provide vivid contrasts. Donohue is masterful at evoking time and place, and The Stolen Child will resonate with anyone who longs for their youth."
"Review" by , "Enchanting....Donohue seamlessly blends the fantastical and the real here, with a matter-of-fact approach to the magic that exists on the edges of everyday life. This is a mysterious journey told in lyrical prose."
"Review" by , "The Stolen Child is unsentimental and vividly imagined. Keith Donohue evokes the otherworldly with humor and the ordinary with wonder. I enjoyed it immensely."
"Review" by , "The Stolen Child is a truly remarkable work on the ancient legend of the changeling. Keith Donohue's poignant take on the myth, rooting it in our time, and telling it from the alternating viewpoints of the two changelings, makes for one of the most touching and absorbing novels I have read in years."
"Synopsis" by , THE STOLEN CHILD is the story of Henry Day, a seven-year-old kidnapped by a strange group living in the dark forest near his home. He is stolen by changelings—ageless beings whose secret community is threatened by encroaching modern life. They give Henry a new name, Aniday, and the gift of agelessness—now and forever, he will be seven years old. In keeping with tradition, the group has left another child in Henry’s place. This changeling boy, who has morphed himself into Henry’s duplicate, must adjust to a completely new way of life and hide his true identity from the Day family. But he can’t hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the real Henry never displayed), and his near-perfect performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he grows older the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Both Henry and Aniday search obsessively for who they were before they changed places in the world.

Narrated in the alternating voices of Henry Day and his double, THE STOLEN CHILD is a classic tale of the search for identity and leaving childhood. With just the right mix of fantasy and realism, Keith Donohue creates a literary fable of remarkable depth and strange delights. The result is a bedtime story for adults, which will appeal to readers charmed and captivated by such recent bestsellers as Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and The Confessions of Max Tivoli and by the classics of Tolkien and J. M. Barrie.

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