Title: The Stolen Child
Author: Keith Donohue
Summary: Inspired by the W.B. Yeats poem that tempts a child from home to the waters and the wild, The Stolen Child is a modern fairy tale narrated by the child Henry Day and his double. On a summer night, Henry Day runs away from home and hides in a hollow tree. There he is taken by the changelings—an unaging tribe of wild children who live in darkness and in secret. They spirit him away, name him Aniday, and make him one of their own. Stuck forever as a child, Aniday grows in spirit, struggling to remember the life and family he left behind. He also seeks to understand and fit in this shadow land, as modern life encroaches upon both myth and nature. In his place, the changelings leave a double, a boy who steals Henry’s life in the world. This new Henry Day must adjust to a modern culture while hiding his true identity from the Day family. But he can’t hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the true Henry never displayed), and his dazzling performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he ages the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Of a time when he, too, had been a stolen child. Both Henry and Aniday obsessively search for who they once were before they changed places in the world. (GoodReads Summary)
Why I Loved It: I am fascinated by The Old Ones. Not the modernized, disney-fied fairy but the ancient, morally complex fae. The Changeling stories are a personal favorite and this modern version is so well done.
Who would like this: Long ago when I still had a book club the whole of it read this. On the whole these were not fantasy readers but everyone seemed to enjoy it.
“It’s only a story.’ As if such words made it less real. But I did not believe him even then, for stories were written down, and the words on the page were proof enough. Fixed and permanent in time, the words, if anything, made the people and places more real than the everchanging world.”
“Allure goes beyond appearances to the way they grace the world. Some women propel themselves by means of an internal gyroscope. Others glide through life as if on ice skates. Some women convey their tortured lives through their eyes; others encircle you in the music of their laughter.”