Friday, April 13, 2007

"The Stolen Child," by Keith Donohue

In The Stolen Child, 7-year-old Henry Day runs out into the woods after an argument with his mother. He climbs into the hollow of a tree, determined not to be found. While his family and the townspeople search desperately for him, Henry is abducted by hobgoblins. A changeling takes his place, transforming himself to look like the real Henry Day, as Henry is forced to live out his days with the hobgoblins.

Two narrators give life to this book. The new Henry gets a second chance at a human life and all the sorrows and conflicts that come with it. The old Henry, now called Aniday by his fellow changelings, has a very difficult time forgetting his former life.

I loved, loved, loved this story of loss and heartbreak. The Stolen Child is Donohue's first novel. It weaves magic and fairy tales into a profound look at our inner child and how the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Here's one of my favorite passages from the novel, where Aniday is contemplating all he's lost:

The most merciless thing in the world is love. When love flees, all that remains is memory to compensate. Our friends were either going or gone, their ghosts the best our poor minds could conjure to fill love's absence.

5 stars

Sunday, April 08, 2007

"Autobiography of Red," by Anne Carson

This book was recommened to me by the lovely Metamorphose over at Anything Fun is Wrong. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but I've held off reviewing it because I'm not sure how I felt about it.

Autobiography of Red is loosely based on the myth "Geryoneis," but Carson has made it contemporary. In this disturbing novel in verse, Geryon has red skin and wings. His childhood is marred by the painful learning of even the most elementary things. He is sexually abused by his older brother. Geryon's refuge is behind a camera lens and creating his own autobiography. Then as a young man, Geryon comes to love Herakles, an older boy who briefly shares the affection and passion, only to leave at the height of Geryon's love.

Years later, their paths cross again in Buenos Aires, along with Herakles' new lover, Ancash. The trio venture through South America together, tension brewing until violence erupts between Ancash and Geryon.

Here is a sad yet beautiful story that leaves more questions than answers. If nothing else, the freestyle verse is amazing.

4 stars

P.S. If possible, familiarize yourself with the myth before reading. Or just read the reviews on Amazon.

"You Suck," by Christopher Moore

Sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends.

This time around, Jody turns Tommy into a vampire against his wishes. Now they're both vulnerable to attacks that may happen during the daytime. To safeguard themselves, they enlist the help of 16-year-old goth girl Abby Normal.

Look for lots of return characters, including the Emperor and his dog companions, the two homicide dectectives, ancient vampire creator Elijah, and the Animals. New to the book is a blue (literally) whore named, duh, Blue.

This book was definitely funnier than the first, but it's all due to journal entries by Abby. She writes vicious insults and bemoans her earthly life, then ends most entries with an update on her sister's lice. Though Abby is merely a vampire minion, she steals every scene.

4 stars