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The Stolen Child: A Novelby Keith Donohue
"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
"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 double story of Henry Day begins in 1949, when he is kidnapped at age seven by a band of wild childlike beings who live in an ancient, secret community in the forest. The changelings rename their captive Aniday and he becomes, like them, unaging and stuck in time. They leave one of their own to take his place, an imposter who must try — with varying success — to hide his true identity from the Day family. As the changeling Henry grows up, he is haunted by glimpses of his lost double and by vague memories of his own childhood a century earlier. Narrated in turns by Henry and Aniday, The Stolen Child follows them as their lives converge, driven by their obsessive search for who they were before they changed places in the world.
Moving from a realistic setting in small-town America deep into the forest of humankind's most basic desires and fears, this remarkable novel is a haunting fable about identity and the illusory innocence of childhood.
"A wonderful, fantasy-laden debut...so spare and unsentimental that it's impossible not to be moved." Newsweek
"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
"An ingenious, spirited allegory for adolescent angst, aging, the purpose of art, etc., that digs deep. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly
"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
"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
"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
"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
"The book gains unexpected force as the plots converge...it culminates in a torrent of emotion." The New York Times
"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
"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
About the Author
Keith Donohue is the Director of Communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the National Archives in Washington, DC. Until 1998 he worked at the National Endowment for the Arts and wrote hundreds of speeches for chairmen John Frohnmayer and Jane Alexander. He has written articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other newspapers. Donohue holds a Ph.D. in English from the Catholic University of America. His dissertation on Irish writer Flann O'Brien was published as The Irish Anatomist: A Study of Flann O'Brien (Maunsel Press, 2003).
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