Some Kind of Fairy Tale is the mesmerizing new novel from acclaimed author Graham Joyce.
Twenty years ago, 16-year-old Tara Martin disappeared from a small town in the heart of England. Now, her sudden return and the mind-bending tale of where she’s been will challenge our very perception of the truth.
For 20 years after Tara Martin disappeared, her parents and her brother, Peter, lived in denial of the grim fact that she was gone for good. Then suddenly on Christmas Day, the doorbell rings at her parents’ home, and there, dishevelled 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 one-of-a-kind journey every bit as magical as its title implies - and as real and unsentimental as the world around us.
Graham Joyce, a winner of the O. Henry Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award, lives in Leicester, England, with his family. His books include How to Make Friends with Demons, Smoking Poppy, Indigo (a New York Times Notable Book of 2000), The Tooth Fairy (a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998), and Requiem, among others.
©2012 Graham Joyce (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Joyce blends reality with fantasy in this modern-day fable.… Though Joyce envisions an intriguing realm nestled against our own, what’s most compelling are his characters’ chaotic emotions and reconnections as they struggle to cope with what they can’t understand.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Reality and fairy tale are beautifully interwoven in this contemplative story about relationships, love, and dreams. In a unique blend of thriller and fantasy, Joyce creates a delightful page-turner that his fans and newcomers alike will find hard to put down.” (Booklist)
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
I was so impressed with this story. The writer, Graham Joyce, brings his characters to life in such a realistic, believable way; the interactions between the family members, the tone and text of the dialogue... as I listened I was really taken with how true and life-like these people were.
The novel weaves several different narratives together beautifully, and we circle through them smoothly throughout the book. We alternate between the present, as Tara returns after her 20 year absence and tries to join the world again. In this thread, we look at how her disappearance and homecoming affect her brother, ex-boyfriend, her parents, and Tara herself as she works to rebuild both her life and her relationships. At her brother's urging, she agrees to see a psychiatrist, and the scenes and conversations between Tara and this doctor are facinating.
Another thread takes us back to the time when Tara first went missing. We see how this impacted her boyfriend (who was also her brother's best friend) as he is suspected of having murdered her. We see the loss he feels as the people he considered to be his second family (Tara's family) pull away from him, as their faith in his innocence slowly crumbles.
The third thread addresses Tara's time away from her point of view; the incidents surrounding her initial disappearance, and what her experiences were during this time away.
Finally, peppered within the other rotating threads, there are short moments where we are read excerpts of a trial transcript from a court case in the 1800's, regarding a woman's death at the hands of her husband and family, who believed her to be a fairy posing as the real woman.
This is a fantastic work of literary fiction. While there are aspects that deal with the possible existence of a parallel, mystical world, that is not what this story is about. It's about loss, regret, love, and sacrifice. At it's core, it's a story about family.
Be aware that there is some language and a few very brief references of having witnessed some sexual situations.
*Technical Issue: As of 7/11/2012: There are a few brief glitches in the recording near the beginning of the second file. They do not result in the loss of text, with the exception of about one word. They are minor and did not affect my experience in any significant way. I did report the bug to audible, and have received a confirmation that they anticipate having a corrected file in about the next 2 weeks. At that time, you can choose to re-download the second file (without these glitches) from your library, if you like. Personally, I did not find the issue to be anything that would cause me to postpone getting this book. Download away!
Say something about yourself!
I just finished listening to this book – twice. I was very impressed at how I was transported to this town in ‘anywhere’ where a loved one has mysteriously disappeared for 20 years and mysteriously returned - and this family’s story of loss, regret, and love.
I don’t think John Lee was the best narrator selection for this book; it could have been so much better without his histrionic tones – I completely felt like I was listening to “Pillars of the Earth” or any other Ken Follet novel, at the beginning – eventually I was absorbed enough to get over it.
The family and ‘past’ love was at the heart of this story and so completely felt and expressed that it is difficult for me to convey. Tara Martin’s parents and brother’s horror, dismay, then acceptance of her probable death; her lover’s horrific treatment by the police and complete acceptance of responsibility and life altering despair of what may have happened to her - were the theme of their existence before Tara’s return.
I was not expecting the explanation of her disappearance for 20 years – it didn’t take long to start in the novel. Her explanation is hard to take as reality for the family and loved ones, but hard to discount – for reasons I won’t say. Her return to the family and past love is so real; the important people that need to believe just want something they CAN believe, and the one who does not matter believes her and gives her a path forward.
It is some kind of fairy tale – a very different one than I have ever understood. It was interesting - at the beginning of nearly every chapter there were quotes from famous historical authors/people about fairy tales. Some put a bit of perspective, some I will have to listen again to see. Then there were the psychologist’s point of view which I found bothering, humorous, and disturbing.
I highly recommend this book. This is a fantastic work of literary fiction. It is worth the listen on so many levels. It is not depressing, it is somewhat uplifting – if there were just one more chapter it would have made me feel better, but that is not always the goal.
Worth the credit and I will listen again.
What do fairy tales tell us about ourselves as human beings? Graham has written a deeply mysterious novel about a 15 year old girl, Tara, who goes missing for 20 years and then suddenly reappears without seemingly having aged more than a few months.
The story draws upon fairy tales, folk-lore and psychology in seeking some sort of explanation for Tara's strange disappearance and reappearance. It is a modern re-telling of the classic story of claimed abduction and missing time and raises the question of why tales like these are such a perennial aspect of human culture--whether the claimed abductors are fairies, demons or UFO aliens.
The title of the book says it well; it really is "some kind of fairy tale" and it will leave you wondering...
John Lee, yes. Graham Joyce, definitely not.
Absolutely I would avoid the genre. I had found it as a bargain two-for-one deal, which might should have been a clue to me, but I've so enjoyed other Audible bargains that I went for what I thought was listed as a "mystery." To me, a mystery is a book that presents puzzling, enticing clues and engages me to "solve" the riddle in a way that weaves in all the various threads. This was no mystery to me. It was a "you'll never guess what happened" that was solved simply by saying, "Well, in the world that I've invented in my mind, it could all happen." That is no solution. There's also a lot of sort of crass, throw away sex that ended up having no meaning or connection to the story whatsoever. "She hugged a tree while he took her from behind," and then moving on. That was it. Who was it? Why were they doing that? Hmm, dunno, just wanted to throw that in, I guess.
I liked Lee's narration, but it seemed like the story would have called for a female reader. The reading was okay.
Either get rid of the "watch me shock you" meaningless sex scenes, or make them meaningful to the story. I don't know, though. That wasn't really my biggest gripe.
It was like listening to a two year old make up a story; "And then I flew and then I rode a horsie and then I was Superman and then I was a flower and then can I have some lunch?"
Modern Day Fairytale !
It is an adult fairy tale meant to challenge, inspire and lead the reader down creative paths that have never been followed.
John Lee is ALWAYS good. But since he read Ken Folletts' "Pillars Of The Earth" so well and with such distiction, there were times when I felt like I was back in the world of Follett rather than Joyce.
Graham Joyce is an important writer for our time and none of his books should go un-read.
I would read this book again and again. It was simply lovely, a beautiful mix of story, legend, and history, and one of the most satisfying books I've read this year. It was mysterious in all the right parts and ways. If you have any inclination towards faerie folklore or magical realism, you are sure to find this delightful.
I would not recommend this book. I love a good fairy tale book, one that is unexpected and different, but this one was not even close. It is more of a drama with a teensy bit of fantasy thrown in. The swearing really turned me off. I could barely get through the first few chapters and stopped listening after awhile because I didn't like it so much.
The narration was quite good. The narrators accent was perfect for a story set in England and made me really feel like I was there, which was and wasn't good. This is not for true fantasy fans. The majority of the first part of the book focused solely on the relationships of the characters. What little fantasy there was was disguised as normal life.
This is the kind of story that I love. The characters were all very three dimensional and real. There was a a bit of supernatural in a very natural world and an intriguing amount of mystery. I highly recommend.
Say something about yourself!
The novel keeps you guessing until the end. The narrator does a good job conveying the accents of the characters as well.
Every time I think of this book, I remember another aspect of the story/performance that I love.
At first I wasn't sure how I felt about John Lee's narration, but as I continued to listen, the tone seemed to be a perfect fit for the story. Somehow simultaneously mundane and other-worldly.
Some of my favorite scenes that I don't think have been mentioned by other reviewers include Richie's interactions with Peter's family and the relationship that develops between Peter's son and the elderly next door neighbor (probably my favorite character).
As I'm writing this review, I'm realizing this book deserves a repeat listen.
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