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
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 world.
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 strange delights.
Dont call me a
fairy. We dont like to be called fairies anymore. Once upon a time, fairy
was a perfectly acceptable catchall for a variety of creatures, but now it has
taken on too many associations. Etymologically speaking, a fairy is something
quite particular, related in kind to the naiads, or water nymphs, and while of
the genus, we are sui generis. The word fairy is drawn from fay
(Old French fee), which itself comes from the Latin Fata, the
goddess of fate. The fay lived in groups called the faerie, between the heavenly
and earthly realms.
There exist in this world a range of sublunary spirits that carminibus coelo possunt deducere lunam, and they have been divided since ancient times into six kinds: fiery, aerial, terrestrial, watery, subterranean, and the whole class of fairies and nymphs. Of the sprites of fire, water, and air, I know next to nothing. But the terrestrial and underground devils I know all too well, and of ...
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).
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,
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