The Changeling

By Victor LaValle,

Book cover of The Changeling

Book description

When Apollo Kagwa was just a child, his father disappeared, leaving him with recurring nightmares and a box labelled 'Improbabilia'. Now a successful book dealer, Kagwa has a family of his own after meeting and falling in love with Emma, a librarian. The two marry and have a baby: so…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

5 authors picked The Changeling as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I can't stop thinking about this book! It's difficult to describe, but it perfectly captures this sense of dread we all felt at least once in our life when our mundane, everyday reality feels slightly off, like some other world is encroaching upon it, moving too close, its boundaries scraping against the thin layer of fabric that separates us from the awful things that dwell just beyond our reach.

The Changeling is a story about strange disappearances, about things and feelings we can rarely explain, and about what happens when the veil is pulled back from our eyes for the…

Lavalle’s The Changeling is everything the hype says it is.

It is a dark fairy tale (really horror) told in such compelling prose that one cannot stop reading. Cryptic in its approach (for to choose another way to tell it would be cliché), Lavelle’s carefully told story combines all the genre’s elements – supernatural, thriller, panic-inducing moments, and deeply felt and deeply resonating psychologically complex characters and ideas.

It is hard to create such a sustained and intense story arc, one filled with mystery and “what happens next.” Any observant reader understands the referential nature of the yarn from the…

The world of The Changeling is strange and exhilarating. At first we are presented with what seems like a mundane NYC, but then the edges start to bleed as a more fantastical, deliciously disturbing world seeps into and disrupts the ordinary.

At the core of the story is a family and the lengths they go to protect each other. There are so many reasons this book resonated with me, but particularly for this reason—the idea that if only you pay close attention, you will see that a more fantastical world dwells at the edge of our own.

This is an…

The Changeling is my favorite kind of novel, mixing folklore with modern struggles at the center.

It’s told the way a fairy tale is supposed to be told – part adventure, part cautionary tale, and all beautiful language, making it nearly impossible to put down. Victor LaValle has a way of opening windows to characters’ souls, making them almost too real.

With The Changeling, I saw a piece of myself in Emma, a woman who desperately wanted to be heard and would go to any lengths to do so. 

From Katrina's list on changeling lore.

The setting is New York, and the central character, Apollo, is a young man with a Ghanaian mother and a white, ex-cop, father. Apollo spends his time searching for rare books. On the day of his greatest find, his wife attacks him and kills their son, or so it seems. But the story is far more complex.

The central themes are masculinity and the changing nature of fatherhood. It also looks at motherhood, childbirth, love, and paranoia, while dealing with cyber-stalking, immigration, witches, wishes, revenge, and trolls (both kinds). It is a deeply human tale about what can go wrong…

From Carmilla's list on grittiest dark-fantasy.

Want books like The Changeling?

Our community of 11,000+ authors has personally recommended 90 books like The Changeling.

Browse books like The Changeling

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dreams, missing persons, and family?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dreams, missing persons, and family.

Dreams Explore 56 books about dreams
Missing Persons Explore 289 books about missing persons
Family Explore 3,837 books about family