Some Kind of Fairy Tale

Some Kind of Fairy Tale - British writer Graham Joyce’s latest novel is set in the English countryside near the foreboding Outwoods, which happen to be on a geological anomalie. many of the nearby residents are afraid of the Outwoods, and rightly so, it would seem. 15 year old Tara Martin disappeared from the Outwoods, only to magically return 20 years later, looking the exact same age as when she first disappeared. Her answer for where she’s been for the past 20 years seems insane and yet strangely plausible, if you believe in fairies, that is. Her reappearance uncovers old wounds between her brother, Peter, and Ritchie, her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance. Both men are in their 40s now, and only Peter had been able to move on. Will Tara’s reappearance give Ritchie a fresh start with the girl he never stopped loving, or will it prove to be his undoing? Joyce takes us on a psychological journey of heartbreak and healing and leaves us with the ultimate question of what is fantasy and what is reality?This is the first novel by Joyce I’ve read, and while it was relatively predictable, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Joyce’s writing is clean and measured and his characters feel like they could be the people down the street. Only Tara felt somewhat hollow, but that was probably due more to her role in the narrative and plot than a poorly drawn character. My favorite character was actually a minor one; Dr. Vivian Underwood, the shrink hired to examine Tara, who belongs more to the fairies than anyone else in the novel. This was a fairly quick read, and not terribly deep or probing. It would be good for an afternoon at the beach or a cloudy evening at home. While reading, I had the strong urge to drink some Earl Grey, since everyone is always drinking tea, which can apparently fix almost anything. One final thing I loved about the novel was the short quotes preceding each chapter. My favorite is by Marina Warner: “Wonder has no opposite; it springs up already doubled in itself, compounded of dread and desire at once, attraction and recoil, producing a thrill, the shudder of pleasure and fear.”