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The Good Fairies of New York

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3.51  ·  Rating details ·  4,828 Ratings  ·  638 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. Heather
...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published September 8th 2006 by Soft Skull Press (first published 1992)
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William Owen
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essential, re-read
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
Dec 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 19, 2007 rated it did not like it
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 rated it did not like it
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
sj
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 play
...more
Alaina Meserole
I don't even remember putting this book on my TBR list but I was so happy that I read it!

The Good Fairies of New York was hilarious. I loved every second of it - I honestly couldn't put it down! If you're like me and you love a good laugh now and then (or every second of every day) then you should get this book. Pretty sure I started crying at one point from all of the laughing I did.

Now I don't want to spoil this book at all but it is such a good blend of different genres, like: fantasy, sci-f
...more
Renee
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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
Feb 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, non-us
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 iterati
...more
Alana
Apr 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, re-read
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
Heidi The Hippie Reader
The Good Fairies of New York isn't your 'run-of-the-mill' fairy tale. I laughed at the antics of Morag and Heather, two Scottish thistle fairies who can't live with or without each other. They fight about who's the best fiddler, the best drinker, the best teacher, the best lover... if there's a contest involved, these two are fighting about it. Millar's characters are so very funny, but I didn't really care for the way that he writes. The story moves very quickly but sporadically forward. Every ...more
Clawfoot
Jan 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Chris
I'm of two minds about this book.

On one hand, the book is a cocktail of JRRT, Shakespeare, Fairy Lore, West Side Story, and a slew of other things. This I liked.

On the other hand, none of the human characters are totally likable and the jumping around is a bit annoying.

Actually, Kerry is likable but Millar uses a diesase as a cheap trick to get the reader to like her and to prove a point about another character.

So amusing, funny, worth reading but not great.
Spiderorchid
Nov 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Great idea, terrible writing.

I remember actually liking this book when I first read it - it was the German translation and I'm pretty sure unlike most of the time an English text gets translated into German, in this case the story benefitted enormously from the process.
Re-reading "The Good Fairies of New York" turned out to be a big disappointment. Or perhaps that's too strong a word, because for me the main characteristic of Millar's novel is that it leaves you completely cold and uninterested
...more
ALPHAreader
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
‘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
Shane
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Clare
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
2.5

I'm not really sure what to say about this story. It's cute and fairly enjoyable, but the writing style was both simplistic and sort of herky-jerky.

It read almost more like a TV treatment, giving a sketch outline of scenes and characters, instead of ever really delving into anything. It jumped from character to character, and a lot of times the action would happen off-page and be related from one character to another later.

It's also fairly forgettable. I mean, it's been a little over a week
...more
Nathan
You will love it or hate it, I am in the former category. What to expect? lack of chapters, abrupt changes in PoV, crazy characters and crazier ones, a consistent thought that a guiding hand has a role in everything, R rated humor, and lots of drunk fairies. If you don't think you can handle that, don't bother.

But I love this book. Punk rock is better with fiddles, the streets of New York probably resemble a Greek battleground more than most of us know, and entire societies shouldn't be complete
...more
Shawn
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Allie Riley
Great fun and very funny in places. Marred only by referring to Chinese people as yellow-skinned (albeit in a context where the fairies could not understand why human beings thought colour was important). I was surprised at this in a book dating only from 1992. Otherwise an excellent, humorous romp.
Dafydd
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

The writing is a mess. One reviewer said something to the effect of this book feels like it was written by someone who's 14, and I don't entirely disagree. It's writing for someone with serious ADHD--it jumps back and forth between a large cast of characters, sometimes within the same paragraph, and the ending is downright ridiculous. This makes it an often frustrating read, and there seems to be little depth or emotional life to the characters.

Yet! Somehow the author
...more
Elisabetta
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Amy
Mar 21, 2015 marked it as to-read
I was recently at a Nerdy Girl game night where we played a few rounds of a kickstarter game called Bring Your Own Book which is a book lover's version of Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity. This book got thrown in the mix of books we were using to play the game, and the phrases we pulled out of it were always eye-popping. They were such an irreverent, strange, kinky, what-the-hell mix of phrases that we were all wanting to read the book by night's end. We decided we're going to read it ...more
Audrey Greathouse
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
An absolutely brilliant piece of humor writing. I've never seen Neil Gaiman recommend a book so passionately, nor run into a book that was so under-appreciated. If you like Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchet, or Neil himself, you simply must give this book a try. The great news is that it opens with the best first sentence in all of literature and only gets better from there...but if you don't like it by the first three-page chapter, I'll eat my hat. Wander around New York with fugitiv ...more
Ryan Mishap
Nov 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fantasy
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
Foxthyme
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-f-spec-h
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.
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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
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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.” 17 likes
“This is a book for every fiddler who has realized halfway through playing an ancient Scottish air that the Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated" is what folk music is really all about, and gone straight into it.” 12 likes
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