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Some Kind of Fairy Tale

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  5,841 ratings  ·  1,049 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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Best Fantasy Books 2012
13th out of 60 books — 188 voters
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Community Reviews

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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
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
Tim "The Enchanter"
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 deft had and could weave th
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
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
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
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.
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
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

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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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
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)
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
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
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
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, Richie. - Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Chapter 21

As one who believes in alternate realities and has had encounters with fairies, gnomes and magical wildlife in the forest, I was immensely intrigued with this story. Packed full of historic and literary quotes - below are some of my favorites:

Are you a witch
Are you a fairy?
Are you the wife
Of Michael Cleary?
Catherine Siemann
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
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
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
3.5 stars

I had a hard time assigning a rating to this book. Halfway through I would have sworn it'd be at least a 4 star book, but a few things along the way whittled that down a bit. That being said, I also had a hard time putting it down because I wanted to know how it would end. I both liked and loathed the ending. (There were things I wanted resolved but the author didn't address before the book ended.)

I learned a couple important things though: I should not stray into the Bluebell Wood, and
When I first read this book, I had compared it to Jennifer McMahon's book "Don't Breathe a Word ". Then it took off in a different direction!

A very unusual read from this author was almost poetic in his presentation. I loved this book because it presented as almost a psychological study on many levels. Yet, the author managed to weave the mystery into the storyline which kept readers guessing as to the identity of Tara.

Peter's dysfunctional children give the story a little bit of an extra trea
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La Stamberga dei ...: Vita di Tara di Graham Joyce 1 2 Oct 05, 2014 04:36AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: Some Kind Of Fairy Tale 18 67 Apr 28, 2014 10:46AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: 2013 British Fantasy Award Winners Announced 3 43 Nov 03, 2013 01:48PM  
The Readers: Book #4; Some Kind of Fairytale by Graham Joyce 11 101 Apr 01, 2013 10:13AM  
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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...
The Silent Land The Tooth Fairy Dark Sister The Facts of Life The Limits of Enchantment

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“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.” 14 likes
“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.” 12 likes
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