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.
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Joy Williams is the author of four novels, four previous story collections, and the book of essays Ill Nature. She’s been nominated for the National Book Award, The Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent title is The Visiting Privilege: New & Collected Stories. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and Laramie, Wyoming.From Publishers Weekly:
A scathing 1978 New York Times review by Anatole Broyard was enough, according to Fairy Tale Review editor Kate Bernheimer, to knock this second novel by 2001 Pulitzer finalist (for The Quick and the Dead) and 1974 NBA finalist (for State of Grace) Williams quickly out of print. This 30th anniversary edition aims to redress the book's poor initial reception. A preface by Rick Moody prepares readers for a folklore-tinged look at the lucky and unlucky fortunes of a drink afflicted young woman called Pearl. The book casts its spell immediately, opening on a not so bad bar where Pearl sits drinking gin and tonics, an infant in the crook of her right arm. (Apr.)
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Book Description Doubleday, 1978. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0385081545
Book Description Doubleday. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. 0385081545. Bookseller Inventory # FV-0226936