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Some Kind of Fairy Tale [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Graham Joyce
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 July 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...

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (10 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455162620
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455162628
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 13.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,883,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Here is a keenly observed tale of a family in crisis, one that mixes fantasy and psychiatry in a potent cocktail." Stephen King: The Best Books I Read in 2012, "Entertainment Weekly" "Joyce's ravishing novel is about disruption and grief, about the risks of being charmed or stolen away from what we love. Though he draws faithfully on English folklore, Joyce has clearly gone beyond book-learning and made the "crossing at twilight" to the fairy kingdom himself. His writing is enthralling, agile and effortless.""New York Times" "Graham Joyce's new novel "Some Kind of Fairy Tale" is one of the most impressive fantasy books we've read in ages.... Graham Joyce has obviously steeped himself in fairy-tale lore, and his attention to detail (and to the significance of those details) is pretty astonishing. But what really makes "Some Kind of Fairy Tale" stand head and shoulders above most other fantasy novels I've read lately is the strong focus on the characters. Joyce's slow, careful narrative style draws you in to a story that's as much a family drama as it is a magical adventure.... Joyce takes a steady, masterful approach that explores one simple story from every angle, holding it up to the light until we see the hidden images revealed by each separate facet. Joyce has written a brilliant book that will make you think about the meaning of fairytales in a new way."io9.com "Ultimately, it isn't Joyce's clever self-awareness that pushes "Fairy Tale" into the stratosphere. It's the way he weaves these twisty ideas into a straightforward, achingly resonant story of a broken man who's found his long-lost sister. His prose and dialogue, even more than usual, are carved with balance, clarity, and subtlety. As a writer, Joyce is often praised as "unsentimental." That couldn't be further from the truth. Sentiment underscores everything in "Fairy Tale," from Tara's struggle to establish her sanity to the heartsick people who loved who she was--an --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A haunting modern fairy tale from the 'brilliantly original' (SUNDAY TIMES) WORLD FANTASY AWARD-winning author. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 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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30 of 31 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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10 of 11 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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8 of 9 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
5.0 out of 5 stars charming tale
Loved this quirky story. It was good to listen to on audio book too. Highly recommended. Will definitely read more from this author
Published 11 days ago by kindlemama
4.0 out of 5 stars Joyce is on form
I have read other books by Graham Joyce in the last, and find his work to be of a consistently high standard. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Lily_M
5.0 out of 5 stars Some kind of fairytale
An adult view Leicestershire, it wof the fall out from any missing persons case , which is is examined brilliantly. Particularly when the abduction takes on a twist. Read more
Published 1 month ago by hillsbjorn
1.0 out of 5 stars Almost pornographic!
At the start I found this book slow to grab me. There was nothing original about it, and nothing like ive ever read before. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Knox Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars Modern Fairytale
I thought that the idea was interesting as it reads as a modern fairytale. However, I found that the plot was lacking which was rather disappointing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Olivia
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my top favourites
This is a wonderful book. The author is a great favourite of mine. His characters and plots are always brilliant.
Published 1 month ago by Garry Kilworth
4.0 out of 5 stars Beats Ageing Creams!
It is a great testament to Graham Joyce's art of storytelling that you can actually believe the
fairy tale element of this intriguing story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. John Frank Herbert
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting
A good read, with an interesting spin on the classic fairy tale. The description of the fairy world was rather intriguing and original, I would have liked for the main character to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sundriya
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I picked this book as a change from my usual Historical Fiction, but quickly found it virtually impossible to put down and read a few pages at any opportunity! Read more
Published 2 months ago by kindle
2.0 out of 5 stars Fairy who?
Ok read, expected more but didn't quite deliver and was a bit too much fairy action for me with a lack lustre ending
Published 2 months ago by it's OK
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