Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce

“I read a book about fairies.
There, I said it…or wrote it.
That is my public proclamation.
If you are like me, the thought of such a proclamation is frightening.        

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce takes place in modern times upon the Christmas Day return of Tara Martin who went missing over 20 years in the hauntingly beautiful Outwoods not long after an argument with her paramour and family friend Ritchie. Where has she been all this time? Why does she look so young?

She confides in her brother with a wild tale which angers him and then their parents. She also reconnects with Ritchie who still pines for her despite his downhill life. Her family explores all the possibilities and she consents to their demands in an effort to prove her tale true. The best anyone can do is to believe that she believes her own unlikely story.

For a book about fairies, Graham Joyce does a great job not making it too fantastical. Each chapter begins with a quote about fairies or fairy tales to remind the skeptic, I mean, reader, of their importance in literature, history and culture. Much of the plot and subplots remain well-grounded in the here and now. But what Joyce really succeeds at is artfully weaving together all the plots and characters to create a sense of suspense and leaving the reader second guessing. He really reminds me of Ian McEwan and Tana French in that respect. So if you typically enjoy literary fiction but need to step out of that realm, give Some Kind of Fairy Tale a try, you won’t regret it. In fact, you may even publically proclaim that you read a book about fairies.

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One Response to “Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce”

  1. Dan Brooks Says:

    Two other great books about fairies, magic and changelings that would appeal to readers of literary fiction who do not read “fantasy” books are: Among Others by Jo Walton and The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue.

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