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Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
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Some Kind of Fairy Tale (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Graham Joyce

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Member:ted74ca
Title:Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Authors:Graham Joyce
Info:Anchor (2013), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Favorites
Rating:****1/2
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Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
On Christmas Day, Tara Martin appears on her parents’ front doorstep. This would not have been at all strange, had she not been missing for twenty years. And also had she not looked a day over 15, the age she was when she disappeared.

Those of you who grew up with a certain kind of story can probably guess what happened to Tara from those three sentences alone. And you’d be right.

But the beauty of Some Kind of Fairy Tale lies not in treating Tara’s time in the fairy world as a plot twist, but in presenting it to the modern world and asking that world, “Well. What do you make of this, then?”

This would have been more interesting had there been a greater variety of answers to the question in the book itself. As it is, the majority of people whom Tara comes across think that she is in her mid-thirties and for whatever reason suppressing the fact that she’s been missing for twenty years. Initially both possibilities seem equally plausible, but as the novel progresses it becomes increasingly clear that Tara actually did make a journey; everyone in her family’s world simply cannot accept it. By the end it felt as though the story had become a modern-day middle-class morality play (to wit: Tara complains that the light has gone out of Peter and Richie, that they were the hope and the future, but they have succumbed to modernity like everyone else). This frustrated me, as it felt like Joyce could have made much more of the story – he certainly has the skill for it, and his prose is beautiful, but I felt like the contrasts drawn between the fairy world and the real world became heavy-handed and even a bit unfair.

It’s the sub-plots initiated by Tara’s return which made this book so much fun for me to read. Tara’s sudden reappearance, and all the joys and problems which come along with it, profoundly shake up the lives of everyone around her. Way back when, her brother and parents had blamed her boyfriend, Richie, for her disappearance. Peter and Richie went from being best friends to not speaking for twenty years. Now they’re back in each other’s lives, and seeing Peter with his family as well as talking to Tara makes Richie drastically reconsider his lifestyle. Another sub-plot, involving Peter’s son, next-door-neighbour Mrs Larwood, and Mrs Larwood’s cat, begins tragically but quickly becomes probably the most adorable in the whole novel. I really enjoy old ladies in novels who know a great deal more than they let on; Joyce reveals her character by subtle degrees, and I would have loved to have seen much more of her. In contrast, though, I felt that the development of the fairy culture occurred much less deftly; Tara goes from hating being there to nostalgic without there really being very much in between, which made it difficult for me to sympathize with her or even find her much more than a petulant teenager. This was a shame, since I found the world enthralling, and would have liked to experience it through…someone else’s eyes.

Therein lies the great strength of Joyce’s novel: each of his characters, even Mr and Mrs Martin the elder and Peter’s daughters, characters who receive comparatively little attention, feel like individuals, like people. Not even the psychologist or the fairies feel like stock characters. Every single one has their own desires and motives, and every single one changes develops throughout the course of the novel. Perhaps somewhat ironically I felt that Tara actually developed the least, but she did grow to a sort of acceptance of her circumstances, something which I greeted more with disgruntled relief than joy. Overall, though, between the strong characters and the strong prose, I enjoyed Some Kind of Fairy Tale, and would recommend it, particularly to the fairy-tale-inclined. ( )
1 vote HarperGray | Jul 24, 2013 |
The quote from Lord Dunsanay at the start of Chp. 42 lays it all out for us. "I've gone away to the fairy people / I shall not come to the town again. / You may see a girl with my face and tresses / You may see one come to my mother's door / Who may speak my words and may wear my dresses. / She will not be I, for I come no more". This novel tells the story of Tara, a girl who returns home 20 years after she went missing, claiming that she went away with the fairies. A wonderful, realistic take on what it would be like if that could really happen--and a reminder that none of us are who we were when we were young. I highly recommend Graham Joyce, especially if you like the work of Charles de Lint. ( )
  alsatia | May 11, 2013 |
I picked up this book on a whim to read from the library. It sounded interesting so I started reading it right away. I really enjoyed the writing style in this book. It was clear cut and simple, yet elegant. This was also the type of fantasy book that wasn’t action heavy. It was more about telling a story and seeing the repercussions of that story being told. The reader gets bits and pieces of what happened to Tara for all these years as the story goes along. It felt like sitting on a park bench with the fog and mist all around you. You can’t see much at first and you have this strange tingling sensation on the back of your neck but as time rolls by you start to relax and the fog goes away. Except for that one spot, way in the back that you know is there but you’re too afraid to look at it.

I really enjoyed the story as it talked about the fine line between reality and fantasy. It’s all about perspective and I like that this book was very open ended. You could either believe Tara and her stories or you could believe that she had a trauma and blocked out all that time that has passed. By the end of the novel I wasn’t sure what to believe. I wanted to believe Tara but there was a small part of me that still doubts it all. That’s what I really liked about this book.

I highly recommend it and I definitely want to look into Joyce’s other works. ( )
  TheBigNerd | Mar 17, 2013 |
Joyce writes well, and this is a clever take on the fairy abduction trope.
A young girl disappears in the early 1990s and returns to her family strangely unchanged in the present day. She believes she has been away for 6 months, tricked into remaining in the realm of faerie by a plausible man who did not force her, but did not tell her the whole truth either. For them, and for the boyfriend accused of her murder, it has been 20 years of anguish and struggle. The strain of return is managed well - is she mad? Is she lying? Is she culpable? And the working out of pain, joy, resentment and helplessness is both believable and moving. I was slightly disappointed that no one quoted Professor Quirke from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe ('have you considered that she may be telling the truth?'), but that aside this is a very enjoyable and skillful update. ( )
  Goldengrove | Feb 17, 2013 |
At 16, Tara Martin disappears. She appears 20 years later on Christmas Day, seemingly having not aged and telling a hallucinatory tale of having been held captive by the Fairies – not the wispy wee folk, and not the malevolent spirits of many English folk tales, but, well, a different kind of Fairy. Naturally, everyone assumes she’s nuts, including her parents, her brother Peter, her boyfriend Ritchie and her oddball psychoanalyst.
It is a very fast read and a pretty good story, but could have been fleshed out more. The episodes set in Fairyland were tantalizing but too sketchy. The story on the human side was okay, especially a subplot involving a young boy, a dead cat, and the cat’s eccentric owner. My chief problem with the book was that Tara herself was a nullity. I would think that a stint in Fairyland would make a person interesting, but no such luck. ( )
  CasualFriday | Feb 11, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Graham Joyceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carella, MariaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mahon, EmilyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my daughter, Ella
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In the deepest part of England, there is a place where everything is at fault.
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Book description
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO TARA MARTIN?

WAS IT ALL JUST A FAIRY TALE?


Twenty years ago, teenaged Tara Martin disappeared in the dense — some say enchanted — forest known as the Outwoods on the edge of a small town in central England. Her parents and her brother, Peter, feared the unthinkable; her troubled boyfriend, Richie, was the last known person to be with her, but there were no signs of any wrongdoing. Police and neighbors searched the Outwoods for days, but weeks turned into months and her family slowly gave up hope. Tara's disappearance was left unsolved.

Now, twenty years after her disappearance, a knock at the door on Christmas Day brings an overwhelming sight: Tara, disheveled and exhausted but very much alive. Her explanation for her absence comes hesitantly, and does not seem logical — especially when she confides to Peter, now a forty-year-old husband and father, that if she were to tell the full story no one would ever speak to her again. What is most unsettling is that Tara looks barely older than the day she vanished.

Tara's tale — slowly revealed — is either magical or delusional, dreamlike or terrifying. For Richie, who never recovered from the disgrace of suspicion, Tara's return offers the chance to regain the love of his life, although for all the longing he's felt for twenty years, a new blackness seems to overtake him with Tara 's renewed presence. As those who love and missed Tara attempt to understand where she's been for two decades, they begin the ask the same question: Has Tara lost her sanity, or have they?

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385535783, Hardcover)

Acclaimed author Graham Joyce's mesmerizing new novel centers around the disappearance of a young girl from a small town in the heart of England. Her sudden return twenty years later, and the mind-bending tale of where she's been, will challenge our very perception of truth.

For twenty years after Tara Martin disappeared from her small English town, her parents and her brother, Peter, have lived in denial of the grim fact that she was gone for good. And then suddenly, on Christmas Day, the doorbell rings at her parents' home and there, disheveled and slightly peculiar looking, Tara stands. It's a miracle, but alarm bells are ringing for Peter. Tara's story just does not add up. And, incredibly, she barely looks a day older than when she vanished.
 
Award-winning author Graham Joyce is a master of exploring new realms of understanding that exist between dreams and reality, between the known and unknown. Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a unique journey every bit as magical as its title implies, and as real and unsentimental as the world around us.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:16 -0400)

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After missing for twenty years, Tara Martin appears on her parents doorstep barely a day older than when she vanished.

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