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 changelingsan 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 Henrys 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 cant 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
The Stolen Child is a classic tale of leaving childhood and the search
for identity. With just the right mix of fantasy and realism, Keith Donohue has
created a bedtime story for adults and a literary fable of remarkable depth and
The Stolen Child is one of those out-of-the-box type novels that tend to either miss by a mile or, like The Time Traveler's Wife, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, or The Life of Pi, hit a nerve with people and become tremendously popular. The Stolen Child's blend of fantasy and realism combined with a classic search for identity story should place it firmly in the latter category. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Fascinating...Donohue paints a vivid picture of American life from the 1950s into the 1970s and the pressures on a boy who, in addition to not being entirely human, is growing up in the Vietnam War era, when attitudes toward sex, drugs, and patriotism were undergoing a sea change....Anidays's story is set in the cool forest where the forever children live off the lush land except for forays into town to steal supplies and perform random acts of mischief. It is a world threatened by civilization, an encroachment that pushes the present and former Henrys toward each other. Both sides of this story are poignant and beautifully told.
An ingenious, spirited allegory for adolescent angst, aging, the purpose of art, etc., that digs deep. Grade: A.
An impressive novel of outsiders whose feelings of alienation are more natural than supernatural.
A haunting, unusual first novel, The Stolen Child is recommended.
Take that, Bilbo Baggins! Donohue's sparkling debut especially delights because, by surrounding his fantasy with real-world, humdrum detail, he makes magic believable.
Scotland on Sunday
A welcome addition to the field of contemporary fantasy…sparklingly quirky... Overall it is a gently redemptive parable about becoming oneself.
Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife The Stolen Child is unsentimental and vividly imagined. Keith Donohue evokes the otherworldly with humor and the ordinary with wonder. I enjoyed it immensely.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Diana Amazing. Just amazing. I felt so bad when I had to close the book one last time, and had to say goodbye to Mota and Aniday (forgive me if I don't know the names in English. There was one copy left at the bookstore, it was in Spanish and that book just lured... Read More
Rated of 5
by Elizabeth Haunting Fairies, trees, switching places, family, trust, secrets, longing to return........
Henry Day was tired of babysitting his sisters and ran into the woods after his mother insisted that he help more with them. The changelings took him that very... Read More
Rated of 5
by Valerie Love this story I first rented this as an audio book for a long road trip, I absolutely fell in love with the story and purchased the book as soon as I arrived at my destination. The imagery and simple story telling captivate me and I have read the book at least... Read More
Rated of 5
by Aledrain A woven masterpiece of a story Stolen Child is a great book, and recommend to all ages. The book is at first tedious, but then you get to the core and you can't wait to see what comes next, and you began to see the real story behind it all, the alienation folds away, and there... Read More
Rated of 5
by Nancy stevenson armstrong the stolen child This is the best book I have read in a long time
I fell in love with all of the characters.
Rated of 5
by Courtney Failed to mesmerize The Stolen Child did not live up to my expectations at all. I was rather excited about reading the book, since I had heard nothing but rave reviews over it. It was picked as the selection for my most current reading group, and overall the feeling... Read More
The Stolen Child is Keith Donohue's first novel. He lives in Maryland, near
Washington, D.C. and was, for many years, a speechwriter at the National
Endowment for the Arts.
The Stolen Child is inspired by the poem of the same name by W.B. Yeats (bio).
Yeats first published The Stolen Child in The Wanderings of Oisin and
Other Poems (1889), the volume of poetry that established his
reputation. This is the first verse:
Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
Read the full poem at BookBrowse (just below the reading guide).
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