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Away With The Fairies by [Tuffnell, Vivienne]
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Away With The Fairies Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 745 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Beehive Books (30 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005RDS02A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #144,704 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes a book speaks so personally to you that it feels like the universe itself had a hand in brining it into your life at the right time. The protagonist, Isobel, has pushed down a lot of unprocessed grief. This starts to leak out in her paintings, with disturbing images emerging in her expressive work. But it takes a distressing and almost spiritual encounter with a deer to make Isobel see she cannot repress the trauma any longer. Isobel's journey from self-denial to self-acceptance and self-expression really spoke to me. It made me realise that I too was a fish out of water. I was trying to live on land when my natural environment was the water. My compassion for Isobel allowed me to understand that allowing myself to live in my own natural environment was important and not something I should keep dismissing. The book feels quite special to me for that reason.

It's written in an almost dreamy way, as if the author was writing it in an alternative state of consciousness. Like a river, the story meanders across different landscapes, and the journey is the important thing, not the destination. This does mean there are some unexpected plot-points, which I note that a couple of other reviewers struggled with, but having read several of Vivienne Tuffnell's books now, I have come to love the lack of contrivance in her work. She never manipulates the reader towards a certain point, the story just goes where it needs to go.

Recommended, especially for overwhelmed parents and artistic types feeling squeezed and needing some understanding. I benefited from my time spent with Isobel in her slightly creepy cottage.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having been captivated by Strangers and Pilgrims, I naturally felt inclined to read the next offering from Vivienne Tuffnell, Away with the Fairies. Different, but no less captivating, the tale of Isabel's own struggle with her art is explored in Tuffnell's careful and conscientious writing: imaginative, thought-provoking, and occasionally challenging - a real pleasure to read. I lent a copy to my Mother, who told me what an eye-opening pleasure it was after the usual run-of-the-mill modern paperbacks; then my Father had to read it before I finally got it back... I've bought him his own copy now. Happy Father's Day!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the story of Isabel. A painter who wants time away from the manifold pressures of minding young children and being the unpaid assistant to her husband who is a vicar. She is also more disturbed than she acknowledges by the suicide of both her parents. She has no beliefs in an afterlife. The family buys Barrow Cottage which has a prehistoric burial mound, or barrow, in the garden. There is a continuing series of unexplained events which she tries to rationalise. Isabel spends time to be alone there to paint.The quality of her work changes dramatically but she she is not consciously planning the outcome. The strange events continue and she begins to breakdown.
There is part of the story which deals with Maggie, a local woman artist who has a chaotic and alternative lifestyle but there are no redeeming qualities and while she may have a symbolic part to play in the story, I found her a little two dimensional.
Guy, the disabled flautist, provides a new direction to her thinking and the breakdown becomes a breakthrough. He says, more or less, what I would have hoped someone would have said to Isabel in terms of background information. I am not so convinced about his concept of soul fragments but don't dismiss it.
Isabel was denying the fact of death and change and needed to withdraw into her self to make connections with those streams of consciousness which lie within and beyond our separate individualities. There is little growth until we embrace the negative (so-called) parts of our soul. She was prompted by the psychic forces or beings which inhabited the cottage.
Her clergyman husband had no idea what they were dealing with which, sadly, seems true of most, not all, of the modern churches.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I knew that this was going to be a good read right from the outset. The opening lines drew me into the story and drew me to the characters - especially Isobel, whose struggles with life are brilliantly observed and not so much described as evoked. And if that had been all there was to it, it would still have been good - realistic, humorous, poignant and engaging.

But then the author brings in another element. In the isolated cottage where Isobel goes to paint (art, not decoration!) strange things begin to happen...

Introducing the supernatural is not easy to do. It's one thing to have weird things occur in a story which is obviously fantasy or horror: but to bring these elements into a normal, everyday world without it seeming contrived or just ridiculous takes some skill. It's something that I as a writer aspire to myself: Vivienne Tuffnell shows how it's done. Through these events, Isobel comes to a deeper understanding - not so much of fairies (which are not at all what you might think) but of herself, and of the deep issues of grief and pain and creativity that she must confront and deal with.

The story is well structured and smoothly written throughout. My only (very minor) criticism is the occasional repetition of the same word in consecutive sentences, which broke the flow slightly, but didn't detract from my enjoyment of the writing. And 'Away with the Fairies' is much more than just an enjoyable story. It deals with some serious issues and does so with compassion, understanding and hope. Highly recommended.
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