Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Some Kind of Fairy Tale

Thanks to the kind folks at Random House, I received an advance copy of Graham Joyce’s new novel, Some Kind of Fairy Tale. I’ve been pretty jammed up on my books to read and review, but this one jumped to the top of my list due to its intriguing premise. More on that and my review of the novel after this image of the book’s cover.

Here’s the premise: Tara Martin disappeared in an English forest at the age of sixteen only to reappear twenty years later, yet she’s barely aged. Her parents and brother are shocked, having believed she’d been murdered years ago and that her ex-boyfriend Richie may have been to blame. But Tara has a different story, one that echoes those old folklore tales about people abducted by fairies to the Otherworld, where time behaves strangely. Yet is Tara telling the truth, or is she delusional, as her psychiatrist tends to believe? Or worse, is the person who claims to be Tara really someone – or something – else?

Some Kind of Fairy Tale reads like a cross between urban fantasy and literary fiction, and reimagines the classic folklore fairy abduction tale from a modern day perspective. The novel unfolds slowly, but the story of what really happened to Tara – including whether she’s even who she claims to be – is gripping enough to keep the reader turning the pages. (I know I did!) The characters are wonderfully wrought, from Tara herself to her various family members and her ex-boyfriend Richie, who suffers quite a bit when the police presume he murdered her years ago.

A good portion of the novel concerns Tara’s “fairy” abductors, but whether they are real or just figments of her imagination is one of the major story questions. For those who prefer an explosive climax, this novel may disappoint – or it may serve as a welcome change of pace, as it did for me. The conclusion doesn’t answer all the story’s questions, but it keeps the reader thinking, and I found myself pondering it for days. I suspect that’s what the author wanted, which in my view makes it a job well done!


James T Kelly said...

I'll have to check it out. As I read your review I was a touch annoyed that I hadn't written this first as it sounds so good! When will it be released?

Joseph Finley said...

James - thanks for the comment! It was released on July 10 in the US.