Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Book: Some Kind of Fairy Tale: A Novel by Graham Joyce


Some Kind of Fairy Tale: A Novel by Graham Joyce was released in July here in the US and in the UK in June. Which country's cover do you prefer, by the way?

US Book description:

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.

And the UK book description (I love to compare marketing):

Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a very English story. A story of woods and clearings, a story of folk tales and family histories. It is as if Neil Gaiman and Joanne Harris had written a Fairy Tale together.

It is Christmas afternoon and Peter Martin gets an unexpected phonecall from his parents, asking him to come round. It pulls him away from his wife and children and into a bewildering mystery.

He arrives at his parents house and discovers that they have a visitor. His sister Tara. Not so unusual you might think, this is Christmas after all, a time when families get together. But twenty years ago Tara took a walk into the woods and never came back and as the years have gone by with no word from her the family have, unspoken, assumed that she was dead. Now she's back, tired, dirty, dishevelled, but happy and full of stories about twenty years spent travelling the world, an epic odyssey taken on a whim.

But her stories don't quite hang together and once she has cleaned herself up and got some sleep it becomes apparent that the intervening years have been very kind to Tara. She really does look no different from the young women who walked out the door twenty years ago. Peter's parents are just delighted to have their little girl back, but Peter and his best friend Richie, Tara's one time boyfriend, are not so sure. Tara seems happy enough but there is something about her. A haunted, otherworldly quality. Some would say it's as if she's off with the fairies. And as the months go by Peter begins to suspect that the woods around their homes are not finished with Tara and his family...

If it gives you any concept of how overfull my brain is these days--when I saw an excellent review for the book on i09 I thought that the book had been released much earlier. No, it's just been on my alert list for a long time, I guess. Anyway, here is the article that reminded me to post about the book in the first place.

The Most Brilliant Fairy Tale Novel We’ve Read in Years by Charlie Jane Anders:

We're in the middle of a pretty huge fairy-tale renaissance in pop culture lately — but a book that brings this kind of thoughtful, character-based approach to the fairy-tale archetypes is rare indeed. Graham Joyce has obviously steeped himself in fairy-tale lore, and his attention to detail (and to the significance of those details) is pretty astonishing. But what really makes Some Kind of Fairy Tale stand head and shoulders above most other fantasy novels I've read lately is the strong focus on the characters. Joyce's slow, careful narrative style draws you in to a story that's as much a family drama as it is a magical adventure.

In Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Tara Martin returns after having vanished 20 years earlier. During that time, everybody decided she was dead — and in fact, the police were convinced that Tara's boyfriend Richie had murdered her. The return of Tara, alive and well, brings out a lot of conflicting emotions in her family and Richie — including some anger at the notion that all this time they thought she was dead, and she was just gallivanting around.

1 comment:

  1. I prefer the UK cover, maybe because that was the cover on the E-version I bought. It does give a sense of walking in-between different worlds and a feel of the woods. Loved this book, had me wondering how on earth the tale would resolve as it is set squarely in skeptical present day times. The portrayal of Peter's family and the different POV's pull you in to the story from all angles. Joyce pulls off a very satisfying ending, not bending the rules of the story he sets out to tell. Recommended