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Some Kind of Fairy Tale [Hardcover]

Graham Joyce
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Jun 2012

Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a very English story. A story of woods and clearings, a story of folk tales and family histories. It is as if Neil Gaiman and Joanne Harris had written a Fairy Tale together.

It is Christmas afternoon and Peter Martin gets an unexpected phonecall from his parents, asking him to come round. It pulls him away from his wife and children and into a bewildering mystery.

He arrives at his parents house and discovers that they have a visitor. His sister Tara. Not so unusual you might think, this is Christmas after all, a time when families get together. But twenty years ago Tara took a walk into the woods and never came back and as the years have gone by with no word from her the family have, unspoken, assumed that she was dead. Now she's back, tired, dirty, dishevelled, but happy and full of stories about twenty years spent travelling the world, an epic odyssey taken on a whim.

But her stories don't quite hang together and once she has cleaned herself up and got some sleep it becomes apparent that the intervening years have been very kind to Tara. She really does look no different from the young women who walked out the door twenty years ago. Peter's parents are just delighted to have their little girl back, but Peter and his best friend Richie, Tara's one time boyfriend, are not so sure. Tara seems happy enough but there is something about her. A haunted, otherworldly quality. Some would say it's as if she's off with the fairies. And as the months go by Peter begins to suspect that the woods around their homes are not finished with Tara and his family...



Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (21 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575115289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575115286
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A sly, observant story... Joyce keep the focus on the human drama, allowing his fairyland to build itself with threatening glamour in the shadows of the reader's imagination. (Tim Martin The Daily Telegraph 2012-12-15)

Book Description

A haunting modern fairy tale from the 'brilliantly original' (SUNDAY TIMES) WORLD FANTASY AWARD-winning author.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous (in every sense) 28 Jan 2012
By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A few months ago, a Channel 4 series ("Gods and Monsters") presented by Tony Robinson (of Time Team and Baldrick fame) examined the history of superstition. It told the story of Bridget Clary. In 1895 she was murdered by her husband, who believed she was a changeling, that is, not his wife at all - the real Bridget having been stolen by the fairies. Graham Joyce's novel uses this theme, postulating a similar "abduction" in 21st century England. There is a strong and intriguing opening, when Tara Martin knocks on her parents' door just after Christmas. Tara disappeared 20 years ago at the age of 16, and it was assumed that she was murdered in the mysterious Outwoods. When she reappears, insisting that she has only been absent for six months and doesn't seem to have aged a day, there are challenges for everyone - her now elderly parents, her brother Peter who has "grown up" since, and her ex boyfriend, upon whom suspicion fell. The book deals with the consequences of the situation.

Joyce weaves together Tara's own story of her experience (white horse, seductive young man, strange, fey land which she cannot get out of) with a very matter-of-fact account of everyday life for the left behind (work, pubs, children, casual police brutality). He grounds the comings and goings to the mysterious otherworld very credibly in a specific English locality, the Charnwood forest, where three counties meet (so, a border place - good for crossing into the Otherworld) which overlies a geological fault (those interested in "Earth mysteries" sometimes speculate that spooky experiences may be linked to the influences of gases and vapours seeping up from below ground, as with the oracle at Delphi. Equally, of course, those "stolen" away were thought to be somehow taken underground). This is done very well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting! 6 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover
Sometimes you discover a book which is like a bubble that isolates you from the rest of the world. "Some kind of fairy tale" was such a book for me. I did not know the author but when I read the 'résumé' on Amazon, I just had to order it.
It was unputdownable, from the very first page. I even found myself snatching a few minutes from work to finish a chapter... I loved the author's way of mixing reality with magic. Made me ready to believe it all without questions! The story flows, easily, never boring. A tale of enchantment... I certainly was under the spell and I am without a doubt going to order his other books. Just to keep the spell on...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By I Readalot TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Once upon a time in north Leicestershire Tara, aged 16, goes missing, it is if she has just dropped off the planet. After a long and fruitless search her parents, Peter, her older brother and Richie the besotted boyfriend have to accept she is gone forever and try to get on with their lives. Once best friends Peter and Richie become estranged, poor Richie is suspected of killing her and all he has left is his music. Twenty years later on Christmas Day Tara returns with a very strange tale to tell. All except Richie have come to terms with her loss and now have to come to terms with her return and they all react to her wild story in different ways.

`Some Kind of Fairy Tale' is a contemporary take on the classic `abducted by fairies' tale and Joyce makes no attempt to hide the fact that he was inspired and influenced by many such stories from the past. His fairies are not the sentimentalized version, they are not tiny and they don't have wings and wear pretty little dresses. I wouldn't want to meet Joyce's fairies; it is not that they are evil but dark and sinister with, by human standards, a lax view on morality and they don't like being referred to as 'fairies'.

Charnwood Forest provides the perfect setting for this story; as someone who once spent several years living within walking distance of the Outwoods I can vouch for the enchanted nature of this ancient place and the bluebells really are an impressive sight when you catch them at the right time. I haven't really thought about Charnwood Forest for a few years now but this novel took me right back rekindling memories of happy times spent in this beautiful part of England.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read 7 Sep 2012
By Nicole
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author is very talented, for his writing style is a real joy (or should I say styles for this title, as he swept seamlessly from one narrative to another giving us a full colour insight into the characters). The story is enjoyable, fascinating and at times surprising. I particularly enjoyed the faerie poems, songs and stories at the beginning of each chapter.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
**Minor Spoilers Implied**

Some Kind of Fairy Tale borrows liberally from British folk tales relating to the disappearance of young women, apparently taken by the fairies. In this instance the abductee, Tara, returns twenty years later, although she claims (and her appearance would suggest) that for her only six months have passed. Thereafter, the novel flits between Tara's fantastical tale, attempts to rationalise her experiences through psychiatry and the stories of those left behind.

Joyce digs deep into British mythology for his story, a fact underlined by the literary quotes and the reports of real-life encounters with the mystic that precede each chapter. The fairies of this tale owe less to Disney and more to A Midsummer Night's Dream. They're earthy, lusty free spirits with radical knowledge of physics but an unusual approach to ethics. This kind of folklore is fascinating and Joyce manages to capture some of this in a largely entertaining story with a genuinely poetic bent.

The tension between the fantastic and the mundane provide plenty of opportunity for Joyce to challenge the way in which our society works. His themes question the moral judgements that we all make in relationships, child rearing and the imposition of authority. Consequently, this is a charismatic book that is -on the whole- pretty engaging. I do, however, have gripes.

Around the core mystery, Joyce builds a series of thematically related plots. Some are very pertinent to the core narrative whilst others seem far more tangential. In particular, the strained relationship between Tara's adolescent nephew and his elderly neighbour falls into the second category. Some of the plot strands of the latter type don't resolve into the core plot or themes until very late in the novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Strange Kind of Tale...
This isn't a fantasy genre book, and Tara is not a heroine. Some Kind of Fairy Tale explores the reaction of Tara's family and friends to what they feared was her abduction or... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware.......this will induce anti social behaviour
This is a novel that hooked me from word go. A modern take on an old legend but it grabs you and the characters have rounded characters and personality flaws that are a refreshing... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Helen Highwater
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and delightful
This truly is a fairytale and whilst reading it I almost felt it could be true! I have walked in woods as beautiful as those desrcibed and the perfume of the bluebells are indeed... Read more
Published 21 days ago by C Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern fairytale
This book had me hooked from the start. I could tell instantly that it was not an average fairytale. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Celeste
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fairy tale, great writer
I had previously read the tooth fairy by this author which I enjoyed immensely. This is another classic British fairy tale. Read more
Published 2 months ago by tinychef
4.0 out of 5 stars really enjoyed
I really enjoyed this book. An interesting take on a traditional tale with several twists to keep your interest. Buy it!
Published 2 months ago by Mr P Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight
So many different agendas and perspectives. A world that refuses to leave your head even after the book is done
Published 2 months ago by C
4.0 out of 5 stars mystical, draws you in
Loved this book couldn't wait to read it. It didn't disappoint although I had an idea of the ending. It was just a great read with some interesting ideas.
Published 2 months ago by MRS T TAIT
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, enjoyable read!
An intelligent, wonderful, believable fairy tale, with clever twists and turns making it a very enjoyable read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by marshwader
4.0 out of 5 stars A story with a twist.
I found this a little difficult to accept initially, but I began to appreciate the folk-tale elements as I read further. Read more
Published 2 months ago by lindsey
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