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Some Kind of Fairy Tale
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Some Kind of Fairy Tale

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  7,242 Ratings  ·  1,226 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
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Doubleday (first published 2012)
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Andy Hi Caitie,

There is some very minor form of action in this book but nothing drastic, a bit or humour is also in which i enjoyed, i just finished and i…more
Hi Caitie,

There is some very minor form of action in this book but nothing drastic, a bit or humour is also in which i enjoyed, i just finished and i loved it! its not one of the typical kind of fairy stories and the fairies in this book are of a different kind. am not gonna tell you much and spoil it for u but i would definitely suggest reading it, hope i was some kinda help :) (less)

Community Reviews

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Sep 25, 2012 karen rated it really liked it
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, questioning how much is "reality" and how much is arti
Heidi The Hippie Librarian
Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a fantasy set in modern times. Peter is a farrier (shoes horses and fixes small, metallic things). He has a lovely wife and four beautiful children. He also has a sister whom he hasn't seen for nearly twenty years, presumed dead. Imagine his surprise, when she shows up at their parent's home on Christmas Day. Where has she been? Where indeed...

The magic in this book isn't in your face, it's hidden in the shadows and rocks of the woods and glens- very much like I imagin
3 stars

"There is a veil to this world, thin as smoke, and it draws back occasionally and when it does we can see incredible things."

This, my second Graham Joyce novel, forced me to ponder - what is reality and what is fantasy? Is there really a veil to the world that is drawn back, or do we have to use our own power and suspend our own disbelief in order to see beyond what is visibly evident? I felt I had to make these choices while reading this book and it seemed a curious exercise. My first Jo
Tim The Enchanter
My Number 9 Read for 2015

A Wonderful Surprise - 5 Stars

I picked this book up on a whim. The premise sounded rather interesting and I thought it was worth a shot. That said, there was little trepidation as I realized the book contained magical realism. My experience with this have ranged from great examples in the work of José Saramago to painful uses in drivel such as, The Boy Detective Fails. Having no previous experience with Graham Joyce, I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had a
Aug 11, 2012 Cayleigh rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
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
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
Lacey Skorepa
Jun 27, 2012 Lacey Skorepa rated it it was ok
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
Jan 03, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it
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
Jun 24, 2013 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Diane S ☔
Jun 04, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
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
Liviu Szoke
Da, am terminat una din cele mai frumoase povești fantasy pe care am citit-o vreodată. Totul este perfect așezat, fără înflorituri, direct, percutant, personajele sunt create cu micile lor neajunsuri, ceea ce le transformă în oameni, nu în manechine însuflețite, iar acțiunile lor ne dau de înțeles exact același lucru. Citiți-o și recitiți-o pe îndelete, pentru că merită să te scufunzi între paginile ei și nu-ți va părea că ți-ai irosit nici măcar un minuțel din viață. Mai multe, pe FanSF: http:/ ...more
Feb 26, 2015 Cher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars - Incredible. I really loved it.

Such an enchanting, warm and comforting read (not in the Hallmark way, in the oh this is so good I could eat it up kind of way). Hated to see it end, and that is always a premium literary compliment. Simply beautiful story-telling.

Favorite Quotes: Youth fears nothing because it knows nothing.

First Sentence: In the deepest heart of England there is a place where everything is at fault.
Lisa B.
Jun 13, 2012 Lisa B. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-books
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
Jan 28, 2016 Ariel rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
On Christmas day, as snow begins to fall for the first time in ten years, there's a knock at the door. A present no one thought to expect has arrived and it brings with it a whirlwind of emotion, mystery, and the heady scent of bluebells.

Twenty years ago Tara Martin went for a walk in The Outwoods; somewhere, in the midst of its hundred acres of aged birches and yews that lie "trembling on the lip of an ancient volcanic crater" where the very "air is charged with an eerie electrical quality, al
Aug 19, 2012 Britany rated it liked it
I actually enjoyed this more than I initially thought I would. This is my first book by Graham Joyce- who passed away late last year, and I was impressed with the writing. The story lacked a little bit for me. The different chapters started out with a "fairy-ish" themed quote which was a little distracting, and each chapter was told from a different perspective.

Tara Martin disappears into the Outwoods near her home one random afternoon, never to be seen again-- Until a knock at her parents door
Feb 11, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 26, 2013 Elisa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This brilliant novel is an unusual mix of the fantastical with everyday reality.
On a Christmas afternoon Tara shows up at her parents house. Exactly twenty years before she had taken a walk into the woods and never come back. She does not look a day older than 16, the age she was when she disappeared, except that she wears sunglasses because her eyes are sensitive to bright light, even when she's indoors.
Her stories of where she's been don't add up, so finally Tara admits ( or claims depending
Graham Joyce passed away this fall after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer, but that's not why I'm giving this book five stars.

He was one of the kindest, funniest, most interesting people I've ever met; so generous and thoughtful in person that he made everyone in the room feel like they were terribly important, and very dear friends of his. But that's not why I'm giving this book five stars, either.

I'm giving this book five stars because it's brilliant. I'm giving it five stars becaus
Feb 03, 2016 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magical realism is always a bit hit and miss for me, this is definitely a hit 3 and a half *
Parts of this book are so breathtaking the parts in the 'otherworld' and the descriptions of the bluebells in the Outwoods I could almost smell the perfume.
The story carried me along very quickly and I liked all the characters which is odd but they were so well drawn.
So some yukky bits, some 'naughty bits and a bloody good story.
Aug 07, 2012 Barbm1020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lidija Paradinovic
Jan 23, 2013 Lidija Paradinovic rated it liked it
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)
Aug 08, 2012 Trisha rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, supernatural
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
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
All I ask is that for one second you open up your mind, for one second, and allow the possibility for that one second that I might be telling you that something extraordinary happened. Really happened. Then after that one second you can go back to thinking I'm a liar or I'm insane or whatever you want. But I demand it, I demand one second. . . . . There is a veil to this world, thin as smoke, and it draws back occasionally, and when it does we can see incredible things. Incredible things, Richi ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Michael rated it liked it
Twenty years ago, Tara disappeared without warning. Thus it surprises everyone when she arrives at the front door of her brother Peter's house. At first he did not recognize her at all, from the looks of it, she has lived a rough life and he does not remember how she once looked. Yet when she comes face to face with him, he reminisces about the time that she left. Everyone was led to believe that she was killed or abducted so she has a lot of explaining to do. However Peter's family does not wan ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is my first of Graham Joyce's books, and I was very pleased. Some Kind of Fairy Tale introduced me to the genre of magical realism. Joyce effectively mixes our reality with fantasy. I thought the writing style was well done. I was reeled in from the beginning and had trouble putting this book down.

Tara Martin disappeared over 20 years ago without a trace. Leaving her family and friends with many unanswered questions. On Christmas day she returns and her explanation to her family is somethin
Jan 18, 2014 Txkimmers rated it really liked it
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
“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
Sep 21, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was ok
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
Jun 05, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
An imperfect, dark, magical fairy tale by Graham Joyce that keeps you guessing and breaks your heart, like all the best fairy tales do.

There are parts that are unsatisfactory, and overall it leaves you wanting more, and the end is somewhat jarring, until you realize that it probably never could have ended any other way. It's Joyce's majestic prose that drives me to give this five stars over the four I had considered. A perfect book to read on a chilly fall or winter evening with a cup of tea or
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Graham Joyce (22 October 1954 – 9 September 2014) was 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 po
More about Graham Joyce...

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“Rationally speaking, blaming one's behavior on alcohol or drugs is like blaming the ladder by which you descended into a pit, or the staircase that took you down to a cellar, for what you found there.” 20 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.” 19 likes
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