A Strange Kind of Tale...,
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This review is from: Some Kind of Fairy Tale (Paperback)
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 worse, and examines how they cope with her return, both on a practical level and as a result of the account she makes of her absence. Tara does describe the fairies and fairyland, but the majority of the book is very much rooted in a middle-class English country setting, with very modern, and pretty realistically described, characters.
I particularly enjoyed Joyce's fluid writing style. Ideas, images and characters all drop vividly into your mind and stay with you. I appreciated his description of his fairy world, albeit it verged on too debauched to feel like a functioning society, and it's definitely not a book for people who like their fairies to be noble. In the end, I felt we needed a better understanding of the fairy Hiero; he's probably the only character in the book that we don't get a real handle on and this, I suspect, is why the fairy element ends up feeling a little sidelined in favour of psychiatrists and characterful, washed-up musicians.
The character of Tara is difficult to relate to, but perhaps this is what was intended: she is odd, immature, and finds it hard to empathise with those around her. That, added to a large cast of characters who get their own chapters mean that this book has no easy choice of hero or heroine to root for. As the central question is probably (you'll have to read it and form your own opinion) unresolved, this book feels a little unfocussed. How much that bothers you is probably a matter of personal taste, as the spectrum of opinion in the 60-odd reviews to date demonstrates!
A good quality, easy read, though, which will leave you puzzling long after you've finished it.