Reviews > Published on July 3rd, 2017

Bookshots: "The Changeling" by Victor LaValle

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


The Changeling

Who wrote it?

Victor Lavalle, author of the spectacular The Ballad of Black Tom.

Plot in a box:

It’s rare for a book to surprise me. It’s even rarer for me to read something and think, “Wow. This is really fucked up.”

A father searches through surreal New York for his wife after she commits an unspeakable act against their child.

Invent a new title:


Read this if you like:

Dark fairy tales.

Meet the book’s lead:

Apollo Kagwa, a nerdy bookseller, father, and husband.

Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

I want Donald Glover to play Apollo. Not Goofy Community Donald Glover. Think more Atlanta Donald Glover. It could work.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

New York. Secret New York. Magical New York.

I would give it a try, sure.

What was your favorite sentence?

Two favorites:

A thought, an idea, a shared dream; parenthood is a story two people start telling together.

Monsters aren't real until you meet one.

The Verdict:

It’s rare for a book to surprise me. It’s even rarer for me to read something and think, “Wow. This is really fucked up.” Yet, that’s exactly where I found myself around page 120 in Victor LaValle’s The Changeling. After 100-plus pages of a very slow burn, I honestly can say I was not expecting the direction the book would take, and I am grateful for not reading much about it ahead of time. Victor LaValle is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. He’s able to beautifully mix reality and the surreal. He’s also my favorite writer when it comes to the word “fuck”. Profanities read like poetry when LaValle writes them. If there isn’t already an award for that alone, then someone needs to make one pronto and send it to LaValle every single year, even on the years he hasn’t published a new book.

If you’re a fan of dark fairy tales, then this thing has your name written all over it, especially if your name happens to be Victor LaValle, since his name is on almost every other page.

This book definitely benefits from knowing as little as possible, so I’ll just say this: read it. Read the book. Don’t be a jerk. Stop reading this review and go read the damn book.

Read. The. Book.

You won’t be disappointed.

Well, you might be disappointed if you hate good books, I guess.

Get The Changeling at Bookshop or Amazon

About the author

Max Booth III is the CEO of Ghoulish Books, the host of the GHOULISH and Dog Ears podcasts, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the author of several spooky books, including Abnormal Statistics, Maggots Screaming!, Touch the Night, and others. He wrote both the novella and film versions of We Need to Do Something, which was released by IFC Midnight in 2021 and can currently be streamed on Hulu. He was raised in Northwest Indiana and now lives in San Antonio.

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