Over his two-decade career, Victor LaValle has excelled in writing stories that meld modern realities with fantastical elements. The Changeling, published in 2017 and set in present-day New York City, exemplifies his unique approach. It follows Apollo, a new father who deals with racial profiling and professional tedium. But after Apollo’s wife viciously attacks him and their baby boy and disappears, the city turns into a whirlwind of demon giants and glowing witches—and Apollo must prove himself in a series of Olympian challenges. There are few authors who could convincingly render both New York subway showtime dancers and glowing witches, much less fold them into the same story, but LaValle does so with seamless grace in his update on the classic changeling myth.

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