Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Some Kind of Fairy Tale” as Want to Read:
Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Some Kind of Fairy Tale

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  8,813 ratings  ·  1,388 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Some Kind of Fairy Tale, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,813 ratings  ·  1,388 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Some Kind of Fairy Tale
karen
Sep 25, 2012 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 a
...more
Bionic Jean
Apr 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bionic Jean by: Griffin
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
Heidi The Reader
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
...more
Candi
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
...more
Joanne Harris
This book was a bit of an emotional ride. I knew Graham and liked him, and his death at such a young age came as quite a shock to me. For that reason I'd been putting off reading SOME KIND OF FAIRYTALE, but now that I have, it seems only fair to say that it's a marvellous story; subtle, nuanced and intelligent, filled with resonance and wonder and darkness. I can hear the author's voice very clearly; quiet and a little ironic, so close it's almost heartbreaking. Read it - it's special in all kin ...more
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
...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad I discovered Graham Joyce several years ago, as he has become one of my favorite authors. SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE is about a teenage girl, Tara Martin, taken into the realm of "fairies" (though they are never really labeled as such), and she returns years later to her family, seemingly unchanged. Of course, her family is shocked and the girl is reluctant to tell anyone the truth about why she has been away for so long. After confiding in her brother, he sets up an appointment for Tar ...more
Cayleigh
Aug 11, 2012 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
...more
Tara
Jun 24, 2013 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
...more
Tom Mathews
Graham Joyce has just become an author that I will be following. This story of a Tara Harris, teenage girl who disappeared in the woods only to return home virtually unchanged twenty years later has totally captured my heart. For two decades, her family and her lover have grieved and their lives were indelibly altered by Tara’s disappearance and yet now she returns telling a story that nobody can believe. Is this a story of something mundane such as kidnapping or is it something entirely differe ...more
Diane S ☔
Jun 04, 2012 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
Lacey Skorepa
Jun 27, 2012 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
Teresa
Jan 03, 2014 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
...more
Bradley
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-shelf, fantasy
This is a well-written Fairy Tale in all the grand tradition of fairy tales, including the unconscious desires, the spiriting away, the self-discovery, the missing time, and then the return to our shadow world.

What makes this special is the care given to the two main characters of Tara, the girl who came back, and Richie, the man whose life was put on hold for twenty years. It's modern. It's also nicely bracketed with modern psychology, giving us all a way to view all the events and the story th
...more
Paul E. Morph
This is easily the novel I have enjoyed the most this year. I loved every minute of it and didn't want it to end.

I've not read any Graham Joyce before but I'll certainly be reading more of his work now. Simply beautiful.
Lisa B.
Jun 13, 2012 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
...more
Cher
Feb 26, 2015 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.
Chris
Feb 11, 2013 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
...more
Bill
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read. I was a little scared when I first picked it up that it was going to be too fairy taley, (which I pretty much hate), but I have been looking forward to reading more of Joyce’s work for a while and a few of my friends spoke highly of it, so I gave it a go.

Super glad I did.

Peter Martin’s sister Tara shows up after disappearing into the woods when she was 16. As to her whereabouts for the past 20 years, she tells some kind of story. Some kind of fairy tale.

And a very well w
...more
Ariel
Jan 28, 2016 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
...more
Britany
Aug 19, 2012 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
...more
Amber
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarybooks
This was a good read about a girl who was spirited away 20 years ago and returns only to have her sanity questioned. Will she be able to tell the truth? Check this book out for yourself and find out. It's available at your local library.
Jalilah
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
...more
Jessica
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
...more
Elisa
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Trisha
Aug 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: supernatural, fantasy
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
Barbm1020
Aug 07, 2012 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.
Tracey
Feb 03, 2016 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.
Leila
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: abandoned-books
A quality read and an adult fairy tale which I enjoyed very much. It had me laughing and brushing away a few tears too. An unusual book too. A classic supernatural story which is beautifully told. This is the first of Graham Joyce's books I have read but it won't be the last.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Into the Forest: Some Kind of Fairy Tale 12 37 Dec 15, 2016 10:25AM  
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 by Graham Joyce 18 71 Apr 28, 2014 10:46AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: 2013 British Fantasy Award Winners Announced 3 43 Nov 03, 2013 01:48PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Constantin
  • Caragiale: scrisoarea pierdută
  • Interior zero
  • The Last Hunt (The Unicorn Chronicles, #4)
  • Julia
  • Sonia ridică mâna
  • The Chocolate Money
  • Stardance (Stardance #1)
  • The Lost Coast
  • Digger: The Complete Omnibus
  • Love Life
  • Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers
  • Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family
  • The Illumination
  • An Ordinary Fairy (The Willow Brown Stories, #1)
  • The Year of the Intern
  • The Unwilling
  • Crimes by Moonlight: Mysteries from the Dark Side
See similar books…
487 followers
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

Related Articles

Author, journalist, public intellectual, and (in recent years) comic book writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates is an Extremely Busy Person by any metric, and n...
98 likes · 31 comments
“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.” 26 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.” 21 likes
More quotes…