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.