Trade in your item
Get a £0.29
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Changeling Hardcover – 8 Mar 1996

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, 8 Mar 1996

Trade In this Item for up to £0.29
Trade in The Changeling for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.29, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st Edition edition (8 Mar 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033362484X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333624845
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,466,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


'Unexploded is like a piece of finely wrought ironwork, uncommonly delicate but at the same time astonishingly strong and tensile; it's a novel of staggering elegance and beauty.' THE INDEPENDENT

'Full of simmering tension, resentment and unexpressed passion... A bold, cleverly-told story from a writer who knows exactly what she's doing. I'd be happy (and not surprised) to see it on the Man Booker shortlist.' THE OBSERVER

'Unexploded is an intelligent, perceptive novel by a writer of great descriptive power... Like her modernist forebears, Macleod knows that life and death, the terrible and the mundane always co-exist - her genius lies in illustrating these truths while simultaneously spinning a bona fide pageturner.' THE DAILY MAIL

'The plot is fast-paced and engaging, the characters are compelling, and the descriptions of wartime Brighton are pin-sharp... The novel's denouement is as heart-rending as it is unexpected.' THE FINANCIAL TIMES

'An exploration of the xenophobia and neurosis unleashed in times of national crisis . . .MacLeod remains one of the most astute... writing today.' THE GUARDIAN

'redemptive...readable and entertaining' THE TIMES

'...the author's grasp of emotions, and history of art as well as politics, lend depth and charge... [There is also] the sensuality of MacLeod's prose, whether dealing with art, desire or love; and her uncanny way of allowing us to experience the thought processes of her characters as if they are traversing our own brain synapses.' THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

'Unexploded is an unforgettable book. With exquisitely researched and rendered detail, the author plunges us into the panic and paranoia of war, fusing international politics, national politics and family politics in her powerful study of hypocrisy, oppression, cultural misunderstanding and desire.' BIDISHA

'Love, fear and prejudice are all skilfully anatomised in this compellingly intimate exploration of life in war time Brighton.' JANE ROGERS

'Finely wrought, moving and haunting. What a wonderful novel this is. Bravo Alison MacLeod.' POLLY SAMSON

'Macleod is astute, a good judge of the human condition, a writer able to create a powerful sense of place and time... Highly recommended.' BOOKMUNCH


'Alison MacLeod's collection of stories is a baker's dozen of excellence book-ended by brilliance... [T]he whole is ably piloted by MacLeod's total and impressive control of her material. Highly recommended.' TIME OUT

'MacLeod's fictions are modern indeed. They are fragmentary evocations of desire and its mysteries, passing glimpses into minds and hearts.... [Her] characters are strong, and they are worth listening to...' THE GUARDIAN

'MacLeod's strike rate is uniformly high. The opening story, "so that the land was darkened", can stand for her strengths. Quietly, obliquely, MacLeod conveys more about the randomness of urban living and the ruptures caused by terrorism than most issue-centered stories, or indeed novels, ever could.' THE MONTREAL GAZETTE

'Beautifully crafted, they range from brilliantly observed humour - customers stampeding in Ikea at the store's launch in Notes for a Chaotic Century - to the haunting and heart-rending - the tender elegy to a middle-aged love affair in Dirty Weekend. Immensely readable.'

'Alison MacLeod is a strikingly original voice. Her stories create intimate worlds... and make the reader live in them with an intensity which is haunting, disturbing and above all beguiling.' HELEN DUNMORE

'Her stories are about attraction turned upside down: a young woman who falls for an unconscious hospital patient precisely because of his immobility, a couple divided by the London bombings of 2005, and a young girl whose tongue gets her into all kinds of trouble. These are nimble, magical stories.' THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST

'MacLeod's range - spanning the movingly real to the mysteriously surreal - is excitingly, imaginatively realised and unified by an awareness of the dark menace of love's uncertainty.' METRO (LONDON)

'...beautiful, understated and touching love stories, which capture the attention at once and keep it until the last page. They are tales of intimacy and often of loss, gracefully and powerfully told...' THE TABLET


'MacLeod's novel ingeniously combines medieval theology with 21st-century physics. Her plot... set in Beauvais in 1284, concerns Giles, a woodcarver, whose work adorns the new cathedral. Giles's beautiful elder daughter, Christina, falls into a death-like trance from which neither he, nor his younger daughter, Marguerite, can wake her. Moving forward eight centuries to 2001, the story is that of Giles Carver, a physicist specialising in wave theory at a research centre in Chicago. His daughter Christina is also in a coma ... Parallels are drawn between the medieval and modern worlds, and even the religious fanaticism of the former is echoed in the American episodes. A cathedral tower falls in one story, the twin towers in the other, without seeming glib or contrived...' THE TIMES

'...a daring investigation of medieval philosophy, modern-day physics, and the relation of both to faith and desire... [MacLeod] has an engaged delight in the stuff of life...' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

'The Wave Theory of Angels is utterly delightful, beautifully written... ' ALBERTO MANGUEL

'The Wave Theory of Angels is a bold and beautiful dismantling of the linearity and fixedness of time and space... [Its characters] live and breathe and, most important, desire, in rich period detail. ... [MacLeod] has achieved an enchanting, playful and, at times, dark probing of the limits of our knowledge. It's a novel that leaves us wondering if we will not forever continue to uncover further ranks of angels, other dimensions of time and space.' THE GLOBE AND MAIL (TORONTO)

'The Wave Theory of Angels - with its pervasive belief in the essential sameness of science and religion - is a compelling story that manages a subtle delivery... The tale is gripping, the transitions are flawless and the characters are well-drawn. MacLeod takes a risk with this novel and succeeds.' THE MONTREAL GAZETTE

Alison MacLeod's is the author of the 2013 Man-Booker-nominated novel UNEXPLODED, a story of love and prejudice set in Brighton in the early stages of the Second World War. She has published two other novels, The Changeling (Macmillan, 1996) and The Wave Theory of Angels (Penguin, 2005). Her short stories have been widely published, and broadcast on the BBC, and her acclaimed collection, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction, was published by Hamish Hamilton/Penguin in 2007.

In 2008, she was the recipient of the Society of Authors' Award for Short Fiction, while her collection was nominated for the International Frank O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and named one of the 'Top Ten Books to Talk About' in 2009 in association with World Book Day. Her story 'The Heart of Denis Noble' was shortlisted for the prestigious BBC National Short Story Award and longlisted for The International Sunday Times EFG Award. Alongside her writing, she is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester and is represented by David Godwin Associates, London.

In her work, MacLeod is interested in the force of the imagination in our lives. She is also drawn to stories of transformation; to those experiences of love, birth and death upon which our lives suddenly pivot. Her fictional range takes her readers from classic realism to the fantastic; from contemporary historical fiction to tales of the 21st century.

Find out more about her work and her upcoming appearances at 'Alison MacLeod' on Facebook.

Product Description


'...there are echoes of Defoe and of Swift's wild, satirical inventivesness. At the same time, nothing qualifies the author's originality.' -- The Independent, April 1996

'...this magical and fierce depiction of 18th-century life (and the dilemmas of gender) is a charm.'
-- Kirkus Reviews, Oct. 1996

'...very bold and very accomplished' -- BBC Radio 4, March 1996

'Alison MacLeod has written a stunning novel... This is a wonderful tale, beautifully written and yet steeped in the myth that it deservedly explodes.' -- New Statesman, March 1996

'Its breadth is vast, its structure flawless. This is a voyage through a unique imagination.' -- Time Out, April 1996

About the Author

Alison MacLeod grew up in Canada and has lived in the UK since 1987. Her first novel, The Changeling (Macmillan, 1996), was dubbed 'a magnificent debut novel' by The Independent. According to The Times, her second novel, The Wave Theory of Angels (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, 2005), 'ingeniously combines medieval theology with 21st-century physics... A cathedral falls in one story, the twin towers in the other without seeming glib or contrived... [As an] updated fairytale, it is highly enjoyable.' Her recent short story collection, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (Penguin, 2007), has won widespread acclaim. She teaches English and creative writing at the University of Chichester. She lives in Brighton.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 July 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing novel, blending gritty historical detail with vital questions about gender and identity. Anne Bonny is one of the strangest and most compelling heroines you are likely to meet. The novel is one of those rare things - a book which is a pleasure to read as well as being deeply thoughtful. The novel inhabits its period in many ways. It is full of strange voices, rumours and old wives tales, echoing such writers as Swift and Defoe. And yet, the sense of narrative control, of a writer working at full stretch is never diminished. The story of piracy is far from the romantic notions we have come to accept. This is a world where tongues are cut our and innards nailed to the mast. In deflating the myth of piracy, MacLeod has added to our sense of the past as something strange and uncanny.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Anne Bonny: A Non-historical Portrayal 10 May 2007
By Lauren Johnson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Very fast read with pretty much no historical accuracy whatsoever associated with the female pirate Anne Bonny. It is almost absurd to even say that this novel is loosely based after the pirate's life. I found it rather boring and more of appeal perhaps to a child
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Changeling 7 Feb 2005
By K. Freeman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The story of pirate Anne Bonny is retold as a magic realist novel.

MacLeod introduces her magic realism with a straight-faced technique that may have readers initially perplexed, but that works better as the narrative progresses. Bonny is a changeling, perhaps partially the offspring of a black tomcat; her caul will protect her from drowning; wise women foretell the future in mystic terms. The novel is also well characterized, with secondary characters such as Jack Rackham and Mary Read sympathetic and engaging. A certain lack of detailed action scenes (considering this is a pirate novel) is partly made up for by strong dialogue and touches of both humor and sensuality. Although in the final analysis the themes of selfhood and relationships with parents get a little muddled and a little sentimental, this is well worth reading.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A interesting and different historical novel 6 May 2000
By John M - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a nicely written historical novel about the pirate Anne Bonny. It passes the time well enough.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category