This New York Love Story Subverts Its ‘Happily Ever After’

THE CHANGELING By Victor LaValle 431 pp. Spiegel & Grau. $28. “I think I hate those fairy tales,” an evil old man declares Victor LaValle’ strange and wonderful new novel, “The Changeling.” “Not really the tales, but how end. Three words that ruin everything. ‘Happily ever after.’” Everybody’ critic, especially in New York City, where this bitter man lives and where virtually the entirety of LaValle’ story — which is a fairy — takes place. (The urban action is interrupted only by a couple of nervous forays into the terra incognita of Nassau County.) In New York, its natives know, there’ no such thing as “ever after”: Everything changes, all the time, and the best we can do is plant our feet and hold on tight, straphangers on the hurtling express train of fate. The three words ( alert) are in uttered on the last page of “The Changeling,” but LaValle revises them as soon as they’ve been spoken. He’ a New Yorker, Queens-raised. He gets that happiness isn’t somewhere you live forever; it’ an apartment rent isn’t stabilized, much controlled. “The Changeling,” it be noted, is a particular kind of […]

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