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The Good Fairies of New York
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The Good Fairies of New York

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3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  3,556 ratings  ·  515 reviews

Dinnie, an overweight enemy of humanity, was the worst violinist in New York, but was practicing gamely when two cute little fairies stumbled through his fourth-floor window and vomited on the carpet. . .

When a pair of fugitive Scottish thistle fairies end up transplanted to Manhattan by mistake, both the Big Apple and the Little People have a lot of adjusting to do. Heath

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Paperback, 242 pages
Published September 8th 2006 by Soft Skull Press (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

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William Owen
That anyone bothers surfing the internet on their own time is absurd. When you are not at work you could be eating, drinking, writing, playing baseball, taking karate, licking someone’s neck, looking at stars, getting into fights or cutting down cell phone towers. What the hell good is sitting down to a high-jacked internet connection if all you are going to do is read Pitchfork the entire night? Get serious about your time, and use those well-paid, or well, paid company hours at your job like t...more
Nate
It's not often I stop reading a book, even ones that I end up giving a 1-star to, but I gave up on this one about halfway through. The Good Fairies is just, plain and simply, not well-written. It reminded me of something written by a 14-year-old who has some fun ideas but no concept of how to put them together into a compelling story.

Millar likes to jump between different characters and subplots far more often than is healthy - often he'll introduce a couple of new characters, then two paragraph...more
Mariel
Nov 29, 2010 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dancing like a monkey
Recommended to Mariel by: maimed happiness
Current editions of The Good Fairies of New York feature an incandescently fluorescent blurb from Neil Gaiman. Every subsequent Millar publication features this same quote. It's a lifetime ticket. He can be trusted (unless it's nostalgia based. I'll save those musings for another time, perhaps). There are things that nostalgia will do to perspective and all that (I despise the '90s while other freakazoids somehow miss it). Trusting reviews at all is tricky. I didn't even have the decency to writ...more
Amanda
Don't judge a book by it's cover. Although I usually do and it's worked out before with random finds that turn out to be amazing, not so in this instance.

Great cover, great introduction by Neil Gaiman, Staff Pick at a great independent somehow does not equal a good book. I thought it'd be cool but it's pretty much just about some Scottish fairies in New York City. I really didn't like the style, which I didn't find particularly skillful. It could have been a lot better. The main thing I got out...more
Donovan
Mar 28, 2008 Donovan rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who still play Changeling
What a disappointing read. Firstly, the text is huge, so it didn't even give me the benefit at least being a distraction. I finished it in about 4 hours. The characters never evolved and I didn't even like any of them to begin with. Everything just sort of exists in this book, and the reading of it just felt like a snapshot of the world, but it was like a snapshot of someone else's living room with no context. Completely boring because I don't care about that room, I know nothing about it, and i...more
Renee
Make no mistake, this is getting two stars because Millar was fortunate enough to have Neil Gaiman write his introduction...which, by the end of the book, is the best piece of writing in the whole thing. This is a shame, because I received this book as a present from a really good friend, and was completely ready for a hilarious, light-hearted sort of novel. I really, really tried to like it, and forced myself to sit through the whole thing, sixth-grade writing style and all, despite numerous mo...more
Lori
Boy.
Did i have to force myself through this one.
I have to wonder if Neil Gaiman and I were reading the same book. The storyline was completely all over the place. Within a chapter the author bounces from one group of characters to the next, leading me to wonder why he had numbered chapters at all..
The book goes something like this:
Two scottish fairies land in NYC, get drunk, play the fiddle, fight amongst each other and wreak havoc among the lives of Dinnie (A fat cranky man who has no money a...more
Sean
While not quite as life-changingingly awesome as Lonely Werewolf Girl , this is still a ripsnortingly fun read.

Updated to add: One of the reasons this book didn't completely work for me is that, even though it is set in New York and two of the main characters are supposedly Americans if not New Yorkers, all of the characters seemed British to me. Millar avoided any really obvious faults in vocabulary, but the tone of the dialogue wasn't quite right for New Yorkers.

Updated to add, second iteratio...more
Clawfoot
I can't help but feel a bit betrayed. Neil Gaimen himself wrote a glowing introduction to the book, and promised me that it would be funny and engaging and wonderful. It was not.

The style was disjointed and haphazard, jumping from scene to scene that were sometimes as short as a few sentences. Doing so occasionally can sometimes be quite effective, but when the entire book is like that, it leaves me feeling like I've just read a long string of teasers, and the book itself had no meat. I also fel...more
Richard
The Good Fairies of New York finds two Scottish thimble fairies transported to lower Manhattan. Morag and Heather, who didn't completely fit in back in the old country, are a bit bewildered by their new surroundings, but make do as best they can. They're not entirely alone-as it turns out, New York is heavily populated by fairies, including Italian, Chinese, and black ones.

They glomp onto some humans; Morag joins Kerry, who suffers from Crohns disease (complete with colostomy bag), while Heather...more
Shane
I really enjoyed this story; apparently more than the editors did, however.
I had a great time getting sucked into Millar's New York, and the overlapping stories of the various fairies of the city. I wish that the editor had the same appreciation for Millar's characters that I did.
It appears that the editor enjoyed the first half of the novel, but, maybe relied on spell check for the second half. I am speaking from my personal experience when I say, the invention of spellcheck is both a wonderf...more
sj
I finished Martin Millar's The Good Fairies of New York early this afternoon (well, yesterday I guess, since it'll be at least Sunday by the time I post this. Wait. Let's start over.)

I finished Martin Millar's The Good Fairies of New York early SATURDAY afternoon, and turned the last page with a huge smile on my face.

I can't remember the last time a book gave me as many belly laughs as this one did. Like, the kinds of laughs that would cause my husband to remove his headphones while he's playing...more
Clare
I bought this on a whim because it was sitting on a table at Barnes and Noble and it had an introduction by Neil Gaiman. I would say I am an incredibly avid fan of Neil Gaiman, so into my collection it went.

I wasn't totally disappointed. It was a fun read, and the characters were memorable (especially Dinnie and Kerry), but I felt like some of the storytelling choices the author made were very awkward. You never really read about anything happening, you just heard about it later. You were never...more
Algernon
This one touched the right buttons for me. It's a fairy tale tale for the new kids on the block : irreverent, subversive, sexually liberated, rich in pop culture references. It should also come with it's own soundtrack albums - one for New York punk bands and one for traditional Scottish tunes. I am tempted to take notes and hunt for the records mentioned here when I get around to re-reading the book.
The general tone is one of carnival parade / commedia dell' arte with colourful characters inter...more
Elisabetta
Se penso alle fate la prima immagine che mi viene in mente è Trilli, la fatina di Peter Pan, un po' dispettosa, sicuramente gelosa e invidiosa, ma soprattutto piccola piccola.
Ed è proprio così che Martin Millar descrive le fate Morag e Heather, cacciate dalla Scozia e finite, non si sa come, a New York dove "non si può neanche trovare un goccio di vero whisky al malto"!
Sì perché non solo le nostre fatine sono spesso ubriache, ma prediligono anche i funghetti magici!
Ah, dimenticavo, vogliono anch...more
ALPHAreader
‘The Good Fairies of New York’ tells the dreamy tale of a fairy troupe who converge on a terrible New York violinist named Dinnie. Heather and Morag, along with their winged-friends Brannoc, Maeve, Padraig, Petal and Tulip have a plan for Dinnie and his across-the-way neighbour, Kerry. These eighteen-inch fairies pack quite the punch and have a cunning strategy for war that would put Sun Tzu to shame . . .

‘The Good Fairies of New York’ was actually published in 1992, but has been re-released th...more
Alana
I've known about this book forever, and for some reason always assumed I wouldn't like it.

I was wrong.

*************

(ETA now that I see how love-hate most of the reviews are.)

The writing style is really disjointed and choppy and sometimes repetitive. The random facts you get when first introduced to characters might not necessarily be the most important ones (or maybe they are), and so when the BIG facts are dropped it can really twist your gut. I guess maybe if you like linear narrative, that co...more
Ryan Mishap
An odd little fairy book. Some Scottish Faeries travel to New York to escape the tyrant king's forces. Once in NY, they split up: one group manages to affront most of the NY faeries, while two friends wind up with different humans (one, a dreamy young woman with a colostomy bag who wants to play guitar as good as Johnny Thunders, and the other a young slacker guy). There's a flower they must find for complicated reasons, and a nearly unending series of coincidences, victories turned to defeat, a...more
Shawn
The writing style was light and easy to read. This made it a quick read but also left the story very shallow. There were a larger than average number of characters and the story rapidly switched between them. Each time I picked the book up again I had trouble remembering what was happening with all of the characters.

The premise of the book seemed very funny, fairies running amok in New York City, but the delivery was only mildly humorous and overly crass in places. The characters themselves lack...more
Foxthyme
Once I got over the passive verb use, the unnecessary repetition of facts, and an awkwardness to the sentence structure (about 1 minute), I got hooked. A rollicking, irreverent, irresistible and fun read. And just so you know, drunken fairy vomit, 'no doubt, smells sweet to humans.' Good thing because there are a lot of drunken fairies in this book.
Janie Hepler
I love a book that's really fun to read, that makes me laugh and smile and side with the characters. I was a bit worried, but the ending was very satisfying. I'm definitely going to read more of Millar's books!
Wealhtheow
Sort of a fantasy version of A Confederacy of Dunces. A bunch of British fairies accidentally land in New York and start trouble, all of it amusing and minor.
MB Taylor
Finished reading The Good Fairies of New York (1992, 2006) by Martin Millar last night. The Good Fairies is a humorous urban fantasy, similar in genre to the work of Christopher Moore, but even further out. Although Moore’s sense of humor is pretty odd, Millar’s is downright strange.

The Good Fairies is mostly about two Scottish thistle fairies, Morag and Heather and their adventures in New York. Not that they know they are in New York (for a while they think they’re in Glasgow) or where New York...more
April
This book is a farce or a great graphic novel, but as a book it is kind of confusing. It flips between many characters in a chaotic manner- sometimes starting in the middle of the activity leaving you to wonder if you missed something, but, no, the author is just informing you of stuff in that style. This buged me more than I expected-in part because the fairies didn't have much in the way of individual personalities so it was easy to get confused about who was speaking and where you were.

I was...more
Katy-Del
The book begins in the apartment of the worst violinist in New York. Two very inebriated fairies fly in his window, one of them vomits and appologizes. The other says, "Don't worry. Fairy vomit is no doubt sweet smelling to humans." Bwa ha ha!

In the intro, Neil Gaiman says: "This book is for every fiddler who has realized, half-way through plaing an ancient Scotish air, that the Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated" is what folk music is really all about, and gone straight into it. It's a book for every...more
Alytha
I'll try to keep this one spoiler-free. ;)

Here's the amazon blurb, which sums up the plot quite nicely without giving away too much:

Morag and Heather, two eighteen-inch fairies with swords, green kilts and badly dyed hair fly through the window of the worst violinist in New York, an overweight and antisocial type named Dinnie, and vomit on his carpet. Who they are, how they came to New York and what this has to do with the lovely Kerry - who lives across the street, and has Crohn's Disease, and...more
Jesse
Rating: 5.0 stars

I'm very surprised by the amount of negative reviews for this book, as I found The Good Fairies of New York to be a lovely read. Millar reminds me very much of one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Carroll, in a stylistic sense. His prose is charming, and the dry wit and humour he sprinkles throughout the book never ceased to make me chuckle as I was reading.

Perhaps what truly caught me up in this book was the characterization. The characters are realistic. You aren't going to l...more
Nicholas Stewart
I never thought I would like this book. I couldn't even remember why I picked up this book. The cover reminded me of something that you would read when you were 14. However, when I picked it up again in my room (quite some while after I bought) and saw that Neil Gaiman's comment was plastered on the front cover, I began to realise what type of book this would be. It is a VERY quick read. It is simple, direct and fast-flowing. It is also pretty short. You could read this in a day. This is not a c...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Heather and Morag are two punkish thistle fairies on the run from Scotland. Unfortunately, in a drunken stupor, they seem to have stumbled onto a jet bound for New York. Heather and Morag try to acclimate to the huge city, along with the help of their friend Kerry and the ever-reluctant Dinny. Heather and Morag and the other fairies set about trying to improve the lives of everyone around them, because that's what good fairies do, and in the process manage to get what seems like the entire under...more
Jim
I can see why there is a love/hate response to this book, but maybe a little pixie dust fluttered down upon me, because I really enjoyed it. Sometimes people want a book to be more than it is, but this is one that should be enjoyed for what it presents. . .a light fantasy about two cantankerous, argumentative, flirtatious, bumbling Scottish thistle fairies thrust unexpectedly into New York, forced to deal with local fairies (Ghanian, Italian, Chinese) as they scheme to get an unlikable slothful...more
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Martin Millar is a critically acclaimed Scottish writer from Glasgow, now resident in London. He also writes the Thraxas series of fantasy novels under the pseudonym Martin Scott.

The novels he writes as Martin Millar dwell on urban decay and British sub-cultures, and the impact this has on a range of characters, both realistic and supernatural. There are elements of magical realism, and the feelin...more
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“Two fairies were sleeping peacefully on his bed. Dinnie was immediately depressed. He knew that he did not have enough money to see a therapist.” 14 likes
“Don't worry, fairy vomit is no doubt sweet-smelling to humans.” 12 likes
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