The Changeling by Joy Williams

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Williams is a brilliant writer, and the book is laced with exquisite lines, many startling and some bizarrely funny — but it all comes to naught, in a quite deliberate way.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

With a new introduction by Karen Russell, the 40th anniversary edition of The Changeling is a visionary fairy tale and a work of mythic genius by one of our best writers.


Forty years later, The Changeling is no less haunting and no less visionary than the day it was published, but it has only become clearer that Joy Williams is a virtuosic stylist and a singular thinker—a genius in every sense of the word.            


When we first meet Pearl—young in years but advanced in her drinking—she’s on the lam, sitting at a hotel bar in Florida, throwing back gin and tonics with her infant son cradled in the crook of her arm. But her escape is brief, and the relief she feels at having fled her abusive husband, and the Northeastern island his family calls home, doesn’t last for long. Soon she’s being shepherded back. The island, for Pearl, is a place of madness and pain, and her round-the-clock drinking spurs on the former even if it dulls the latter. And through this lens—Pearl’s fragile consciousness—readers encounter the horror and triumph of both childhood and motherhood in a new light.            


With language that flits between exuberance and elegy, the plainspoken and the poetic, Joy Williams has blended, as Rick Moody writes, “the arresting improbabilities of magic realism, with the surrealism of the folkloric revival . . . and with the modernist foreboding of Under the Volcano,” and created something entirely original and entirely consuming. 

 

About Joy Williams

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Published April 10, 2018 by Tin House Books. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Changeling
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Feb 06 2018

If that sounds like a lot, it is; but when a writer works with sentences like these, she can do what she wants...An elusive but enchanting work by one of America’s greatest authors.

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Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Ellen Akins on Apr 13 2018

Williams is a brilliant writer, and the book is laced with exquisite lines, many startling and some bizarrely funny — but it all comes to naught, in a quite deliberate way.

Read Full Review of The Changeling | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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