The Changeling by Victor Lavalle


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s nice to have a fun read, with strong characters in an interesting location. A slow-burning plot that takes off in unexpected directions doesn’t hurt either.

But I have nothing more to say about it.  Nothing profound.

I was entertained; I expect most readers intrigued by the premise will be, too.

The narrator and main character Apollo is a long-time bookman.  Since his wife Emma is expecting their first child, he is in need of a big score, which he finds in the basement of a recently deceased Bronx resident.  A signed copy of To Kill A Mockingbird addressed to ‘Pip’, one of Harper Lee’s pet names for her friend Truman Capote.  If the signature is genuine, the book is worth a high five-figure sum.

A plot about rare books is all you need to keep me reading, but there’s more. Much more.  I don’t say much here to avoid spoilers but I will say that the birth scene on the subway is terrific.  An excellent piece of writing.

What happens afterwards, takes the story and the reader on a fairly wild ride into the paranormal.

But in the end, while I enjoyed the ride very much, it was simply that, a good ride.


2 thoughts on “The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

    1. Here I thought the whole thing was “just entertaining”. Was there a moral all along? While these moments were certainly there, I guess they didn’t stand out much in my reading. The books is 400+ pages,, right? For me they were just those little pause moments you get in narratives like this, when the story takes a break from plot and everyone discusses what’s going on.

      It wasn’t didactic so much as it was expected, formulaic. While I had a good time with the book, it didn’t add up to much. I’m sure I’ve read very similar stories that had an emotional impact on my reading, even with the supernatural elements. I kept thinking of that movie from last year, I think, The Witch. That went over similar material with much more impact on this viewer at least.

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