October 12, 2009 by Reader's Connection
A Halloween blogpost is due, but I´m much too unstable to read horror fiction. Southport´s Andrea Glenn is doing her part by reviewing The Everything Ghost-Hunting Book on Staff Recommends, and I´m going to make a leap, here, and talk about two books by Keith Donohue. Either one could be considered a fantasy novel, though they work very differently.
The Stolen Child was released in 2006. While putting together our 2007 holiday gift suggestion list, it was easy to recommend the paperback as a stocking-stuffer, because I could share the basic story line without giving anything away. One of the tale’s troubled narrators spills the beans at the start:
Don’t call me a fairy. We don’t like to be called fairies anymore . . . If you must give me a name, call me a hobgoblin.
Or better yet, I am a changeling–a word that describes within its own name what we are bound and intended to do. We kidnap a human child and replace him or her with one of our own. The hobgoblin becomes the child, and the child becomes a hobgoblin. Not any boy or girl will do, but only those rare souls baffled by their young lives or attuned to the weeping troubles of this world.
There you go. That’s the story. Seven-year-old Henry Day is kidnapped and becomes a hobgoblin called Aniday. A hobgoblin becomes Henry Day and sets out on the difficult mission of fooling Henry’s parents. I hope I don’t scare you away by saying that this is a beautiful novel of childhood and growth and identity. What are people, anyway? How do we turn into ourselves? The Stolen Child‘s answers to those questions are spell-binding.
Angels of Destruction is from another magic lamp altogether. From page one, the reader has to guess what’s going on. An elderly woman named Margaret Quinn hears a tapping, and opens the door. Shivering on the threshold stood a young girl, no more than nine years old, with a tattered suitcase leaning against her legs.
Margaret, who has been horribly lonely, adopts little Norah, though not legally. They pretend that the girl is Margaret’s granddaughter, visiting from far away.
The novel moves back and then forth in time, drawing in characters . . . No, that’s enough. After allowing that the book presents a new model for the interplay between grief and the supernatural, I can’t say more without violating my Deweyan Oath.
Hold on a second. Halloween may be coming, but this October is still the library’s Month of Mysteries, and I need to remind you of some programs coming up this week. Click on each for details.
Five mystery authors from the Bouchercon World Mystery Conference to speak at Glendale Library. Tuesday, October 13th, 7:00 p.m.
Mystery writer S. J. Rozan to deliver a talk, “Every Story is a Mystery” Wednesday, October 14th, 7:00 p.m. at Central Library.
A gathering of mystery writers with Indiana connections, whereat Mayor Greg Ballard will announce this year’s title for One Book, One City. Friday, October 16, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Central Library.
Bouchercon World Mystery Conference October 15th through 18th, downtown. This isn’t really a library program, but it inspired our Month of Mysteries