Some Kind of Fairy Tale
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Some Kind of Fairy Tale

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  4,538 ratings  ·  873 reviews
It is Christmas afternoon and Peter Martin gets an unexpected phone call 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 togethe...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Doubleday (first published 2012)
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King of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceHeir of Novron by Michael J. SullivanThe Blinding Knife by Brent WeeksRed Country by Joe AbercrombieCold Days by Jim Butcher
Best Fantasy Books 2012
9th out of 60 books — 167 voters
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz ZafónPieces of You by J.F. ElferdinkThe Winter Sea by Susanna KearsleyHome Front by Kristin HannahSecrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell
Autumn/Winter Reads 2012
10th out of 27 books — 25 voters


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Community Reviews

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karen
ugh. another writer i like gone. he will be missed.

A fairy tale...on the other hand, demands of the reader total surrender; so long as he is in its world, there must for him be no other.

W.H. Auden


this is the epigraph which opens chapter three of joyce's novel, and it is a good place to start. this is a deceptively immersive type of storytelling, one which compels the reader forward, accepting the magical elements willingly, but then jarringly calling attention to the novel's very structure, que...more
Cayleigh
A few minutes after I finished the book I gave it a 4 star rating on Goodreads, after sitting for a while and thinking it over I had to switch it down to a 3 star rating. First let me say this: I read the book in less than 12 hours. I was engrossed from page one until the end, my favorite chapters were those from Tara’s pov, the ones telling her tale of what happened to her and the mysterious man Hiero (pronounced “Yarrow”).

The shrink’s chapters were interesting as well, someone trying to find...more
Teresa
Jan 08, 2014 Teresa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Teresa by: Tara
4 and 1/2 stars

I grew up reading a lot of fairy tales, ones I found at the library, most notably the "colored" fairy books of Andrew Lang; when I was finished with one volume, I checked out the next. I'm grateful it was before the time of the ubiquitous sanitized Disney versions, which is probably one reason this novel's Tara, who believes she's been whisked away to live with the fairies, says they don't like being called that.

Tara's account of being away echoes and comments on the lives of the...more
Tara
I've never heard of Graham Joyce before, but I plan to read more of his work. I loved this book. Not perfect, some flaws near the end (but that is subjectively based on my own feminine needs), but so inventive and original. It was very hard to put this down. Fans of Tana French's In the Woods will enjoy this too. Very British, heavy on place (set near some mysterious ancient woodlands over a volcanic fault), with a bit of a mystery thrown in.

It also starts on Christmas day, so perfect time of th...more
Chris
This is the second Graham Joyce book that I have read and, to my perhaps simplistic view, these novels revolve around core themes. In The Silent Land the theme was love. In Some Kind of Fair Tale it is loss of time/youth.

Peter's sixteen year old sister Tara disappears while taking a walk among the Spring flowers and woods near her home. She returns on cold Christmas day twenty years later, cold, tired, dirty, and to all appearances not having aged in those twenty years. She claims to have spent...more
Lacey
I'm really confused at to why this book has garnered such high ratings. I'm currently in an English Literature graduate program where I study fairy tales so I was pretty excited to get this book (because I'm particularly interested in revisionist fairy tales), but the book was a HUGE let down. It was even more of a let down because I could see the genius behind the concept, Joyce just didn't deliver on it. The most brilliant aspect of the novel was what Joyce did with the fairies and their world...more
Lisa B.
My head is spinning. This book was utter craziness and I enjoyed every minute of it. I absolutely could not put it down.

Tara tells a very interesting story (fairy tale?) about what happened to her while she was missing. The whole story unfolds from several different perspectives - Tara, Peter, Richie and Dr. Underwood, a psychiatrist that was hired to help determine what might be going on with Tara. Of course Dr. Underwood has many psychiatric explanations for Tara’s story and it is a bit intere...more
Diane S.
First I just love the way he writes, intelligently but infinitely readable. A young woman goes missing, her boyfriend at the time is presumed guilty but it cannot be proven, she reappears twenty years later with an unbelievable story. Her parents and brother send her to a psychiatrist to see if she is mentally ill. Enjoyed the character of the crusty old psychiatrist, but my favorite character was Richie. The author does a fantastic job with this character, showing how his growth was stunted bec...more
Jean

Some Kind Of Fairy Tale is partly set in an Other World; a disturbingly fecund and pagan world inhabited by creatures of myth. Or is it? We are drawn to this other world, alongside the main character, by means of a series of images and archetypes as old as myth itself. Or are we?

"The Outwoods is a hundred acres of oak, rowan and birch, of holly and yew, trembling on the lip of an ancient volcanic crater and peering out over the Soar Valley; a timeless pocket of English woodland inside the bound...more
Elisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbm1020
Finished it. Five stars to Graham Joyce! Good writing with no author intrusions, just the right amount of just the right details, full of clues cleverly hidden in plain sight and narration so smooth it was like watching it all happen. Great characters, and even though there were several possible endings, he picked the most appropriate one. Homage with every chapter to the best folklorists who have dealt with this theme. If you love classical fantasy, you'll love this book.
Txkimmers
Note: I listened to this on Audible, narrated by John Lee, for folks familiar with Audible and that narrator.

This novel puts a modern take on an old premise: humans who leave (or are stolen) to live for a time with fairy folk and then are returned, and the repercussions for their families and themselves. I listened to the entire novel in one day (about 9 hours of listening), and it was good to be in the hands of a skilled narrator (John Lee is one of the best). The novel focuses on the return of...more
Trisha
For some reason I have been on a dark fairy tale kick, so much like my previous few books, this one involves a girl who (you guessed it) vanishes in the woods only to return years later claiming that she had been to the land of the fairies. What I like about this novel is that she vanishes when she's 16, but when she returns she thinks that only 6 months have past when really it has been 20 years. Everyone has aged but she is still 16. It gives it a nice twist, plus I like the use of the psychia...more
Amy
I happened to see this on the shelf at the library and chose it by its title. I'm so glad I've been introduced to Graham Joyce! AFter finishing this, I downloaded samples of some of his other work to my Kindle for consideration.

In Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Tara returns to her family on Christmas day, twenty years after disappearing in the Outwoods. She's dirty and dishevelled, and doesn't look as though she's aged at all. She tells her family and the boyfriend she left behind a fantastical tale...more
Theresa
Graham Joyce, the author of Smoking Poppy (which I LOVED), has written a novel that is part psychological study/mystery, part fairy-tale and part family drama. What more could you ask for?! For me, it was fast paced, like a thriller, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I look forward to reading another by this same author.
Mike Shevdon
I decided to read Some Kind of Fairy Tale because I heard Graham Joyce talking about the folk-lore that I research for my own books. It came recommended by friends, and now I understand why.

Let me start by saying that Some Kind of Fairy Tale is beautifully written. The prose is dense and rich, and full of subtext and layered meaning. The dialogue sparkles and brings the characters into relief against each other. It bears reading slowly in case you miss something, and yet you find yourself racing...more
Martin
I cannot believe I've never read Graham Joyce before. I picked up this book off of the galley shelf upstairs the other day, and will most likely finish it tonight. There are so many ways that I am impressed with this book. The storytelling is first rate. Things are kept simple, there is not a lot of superfluous action, and the jumps to different points of view are some of the smoothest I've ever read. I'm very impressed with Graham Joyce's abilities as an author. The thing that most impresses me...more
Joseph Finley
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 he...more
Lidija Paradinovic
Every girl likes a healthy dose of magical realism, and during the first half of this book I was feeling quite lucky. The fairytale and reality of small-town England seemed well woven together, and the entire plot was just at the right spot between intriguing and preposterous. As things started to unravel, though, it began to majorly piss me off.

(view spoiler)...more
Charles Prepolec
Superficially, you'd be correct in thinking Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a straightforward urban fantasy, but you'd be missing the real heart of the book. While the basic premise centres on the return, after a 20 year absence, of a young woman who had been carried off to the fairy realm, it is a heartfelt, insightful and touching exploration of belief, loss, grief, family, friendship, growth and change. There's something deceptively simple and effortless about Graham's crisp, clear, precise, but h...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Anther excellent book by Graham Joyce about the relationship between fantasy and reality, fairies and humans, myth and history, fairy tales and the human mind.
Christine
An amazing story that had me hooked from beginning to end! Very well crafted in just the right way so that the author has you guessing right up to the last page.

Twenty years have passed since Tara Martin, then a teenager, wandered off into the woods and was never seen again. On Christmas day she shows up at her parents' house, looking suspiciously young. She tells her brother a tale of living in the woods with fairies for what she thought was a period of six months. But what really happened? Wi...more
Tina Hoggatt
I'm not really sure why this book isn't getting another star from me. I was engaged and eager to return to the book as I read and it has haunted me somewhat. There is some intriguing world building in this story of a young woman spirited away by a fairy - although they hate to be called that. She cannot return for six months and when she does she finds that 20 years have passed. Rather than read as a 'fairy story" the book is a contemporary adult novel of family and age and the things we comprom...more
Shelli
“Youth fears nothing because it knows nothing,” Tara muses when she revisits a boyfriend from an old teenage love affair, one that ended in a violent quarrel just before her disappearance. Tara’s story is a variation on the ancient tale of a mortal lured away by fairies.
I really enjoyed this story. I've found that magical realism is a new favorite of mine. A good everyday story with a little something extra that makes you think and takes you to a "new" place. Tara was walking in the woods in the...more
Terri
Tara Martin returns to her home and family after an unexplained, 20-year absence. What really happened to her, and where has she been? One character states near the end of this surprising novel, “If you don’t believe in miracles, you’re left with only the beautiful and unsolvable mystery.” Can we explain the miracles of love, self-sacrifice, healing, and emotional renewal, or resolve the mysteries of sexual communion, the passage of time, and the final, unknowable journey that is death? Perhaps...more
Trunatrschild
Okay, before I review this, I've read all of Joyce's books aimed at adults except one, and I've read one of the YA books. I'm a FAN. I've never understood why some of his books are classifies as 'horror' as they don't seem to be scary, instead are written about the beauty and ugliness (and danger) in the secret worlds that border our own.
As what the book is about has already been reviewed elsewhere, so I'll try a different tact. If you've read his books before, I think this one is most similar t...more
Miz Lizzie
Graham Joyce is one of my favorite fantasy writers. He writes a literary sort of urban fantasy that is really more of a magic realism that balances on the knife's edge of magic being real or a delusion depending on how you choose to view the world. I was delighted to find his newest book (and distressed to find I'd missed several since the last one I read -- at least I'll have more to look forward to reading). This novel centers on one of my favorite fairy lore legends of a human who is stolen a...more
Marie
The book started out well enough, but felt overly long and sputtered to the end. The premise is an intriguing one: a young girl disappears without a trace and reappears twenty years later. Everyone and everything around her has changed while she, physically, is essentially the same age as she was when she vanished. Her explanation is that she was taken to a magical land of fairy beings (though they don't like to be called fairies) and time passes differently there: six months in "fairy time" is...more
Kevan Manwaring
Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Graham Joyce


I have a problem. I am now convinced, having just finished Some Kind of Fairy Tale, that Graham Joyce, is the modern genius of British Fantasy. The realisation didn't impair my enjoyment of the novel (I haven't read a novel which I have enjoyed so much in ages), but it does make me envious. A green-eyed monster, looking on like Grendel in the Fens at Joyce's Heorot-hall of talent. Like I say, a problem. Putting professional envy aside, this modern exploration o...more
Stephanie
Interesting basis for a tale: woman returns home after disappearing 20 years ago, claiming she was taken into another world, into the world of the fairies (although don't call them that, she says, they hate being called that). No one believes her; her disappearance had serious repercussions for the people she left behind, who assume that she died in a horrible way; and--in what I thought was the most interesting part of the story--her return to the human world has serious repercussions for those...more
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Graham Joyce is an English writer of speculative fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for both his novels and short stories.

After receiving a B.Ed. from Bishop Lonsdale College in 1977 and a M.A. from the University of Leicester in 1980. Joyce worked as a youth officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs until 1988. He subsequently quit his position and moved to the Greek islands...more
More about Graham Joyce...
The Silent Land The Tooth Fairy Dark Sister The Facts Of Life The Limits of Enchantment

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“What I mean is this: you meet someone, you think about them. You're already changing because of the way you think about them. You meet them again, you think about them some more, you're changing again. And on it goes. You are changing right now. Before my eyes.” 9 likes
“But there are times in life when a door opens and you are offered a glimpse of the light on the water, and you know that if you don't take it, that door slams shut, and maybe forever. Maybe you fool yourself into thinking that you had a choice at all; maybe you were always going to say yes. Maybe refusing was no more a choice than is holding your breath. You were always going to breathe. You were always going to say yes.” 5 likes
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