Guernica Magazine

Victor LaValle: Fairy Tales Redux

The novelist discusses his latest book, The Changeling, and imagining the deaths of your children. The post Victor LaValle: Fairy Tales Redux appeared first on Guernica.
Photograph: Teddy Wolff.

The characters of Victor LaValle are weird, funny, and engaging, and they often take the reader on unexpected rides. This is to say, he is a storyteller. In his latest novel, The Changeling, LaValle uses a timeless storytelling format—the fairy tale, witches and all—to deliver a wild piece of fiction.

In The Changeling, Apollo Kagwa becomes a father, and then must battle with parenthood and pressures on his marriage, issues of abandonment, and the literal and figurative monsters inadvertently invited into his life by way of social media. The book is suspenseful, fantastic, and human enough to believe in.

This is Victor LaValle’s fourth novel. He has also written a short-story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus; two novellas, The Ballad of Black Tom and Lucretia and the Kroons; and three other novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, and The Devil in Silver. In addition to being a prolific writer and having a family of his own, LaValle teaches in the MFA program at Columbia, where I am a student.

I met up with him in Washington Heights. The coffee shop where we planned to meet was a quiet zone, so we decided to move to a nearby McDonald’s, where he told me he used to liked to sit and watch the locals passing by. We sat down to talk about how he puts his stories all together.

Irene Plax for Guernica

There’s so, so many threads for a writer to keep track of. How long did it take you to finish?

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