Saturday, June 9, 2012

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce


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The book's synopsis from the publisher's website:

Acclaimed author Graham Joyce's mesmerizing new novel centers around the disappearance of a young girl from a small town in the heart of England. Her sudden return twenty years later, and the mind-bending tale of where she's been, will challenge our very perception of truth.

For twenty years after Tara Martin disappeared from her small English town, her parents and her brother, Peter, have lived in denial of the grim fact that she was gone for good. And then suddenly, on Christmas Day, the doorbell rings at her parents' home and there, disheveled and slightly peculiar looking, Tara stands. It's a miracle, but alarm bells are ringing for Peter. Tara's story just does not add up. And, incredibly, she barely looks a day older than when she vanished.

Just when I thought there were no new to me writers to discover, along came Graham Joyce. He is an established author, with a long and successful writing career and a nice following of fans. Yet, up until I started reading his newest creation, Some Kind of Fairy Tale, I'd had no idea about Joyce's existence. I won't go into specific reasons why that happened. But it made me reconsider my reading priorities. Maybe I should have been devoting my time to reading fantastic authors such as Graham, instead of wasting it on nonsensical, devoid of any deeper meaning books that bring no value to my life. I suppose there comes a time in most people's lives, when they get such realization about anything of significance (reading is what matters to me), and there's usually a trigger to set our minds in motion. Some Kind of Fairy Tale was a sort of a trigger to me.

If you ever want to experience what true magic realism is, read Some Kind of Fairy Tale. And no, it's not 'a fairy tale' for adults. This is a story where the divide between what's 'real' and what's 'magical' gets smaller and smaller as you read, until at some point you realize that it doesn't even matter any longer whether it's there at all. You read the story of Tara's and where there may have been some incredulity at first, in the end it seems just as natural an explanation, as any other could have been. The subtlety with which Joyce weaves the impossible into our pragmatic world is out of this world (pun intended).

Above all that, Some Kind of Fairy Tale captured my heart with its writing. The prose is simple, spare and brilliant. There's nothing, or almost nothing, that I hate more than convoluted passages of writing that in the end mean absolutely nothing and serve no purpose other than to indulge an author's ego. Mr. Joyce's straightforward writing is, obviously, the exact opposite and does a splendid job of creating characters I really liked and whose company in real life I'd enjoy. All these people were changed by Tara's disappearance and the fact that she comes back, that she is alive after all, doesn't really bring any closure, any resolution.If anything, it brings disappointment and disillusionment for Tara. She now can see the world she left as empty of wonder, and the people she once knew and loved as incapable of looking and any further than at what's right in front of their noses, and sometimes not even that.

OK, before I go off somewhere philosophizing, I'll cut it short and sweet. Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a smart novel that will encourage you to ponder on whether your reality is mundane, and if it is, whether it's because the world is mundane or because we make it so. The novel's tragic at times, at times quite entertaining (made me laugh a couple of times) and it's never boring. Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a proof that literary fiction is not pretentious if it's written well, and that it will give you a satisfied feeling of having spent your time in good company.

FTC: I received an e-galley of Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce for review from Knopf Doubleday via NetGalley

Some Kind of Fairy Tale will be on sale beginning July 10th, 2012. In the meantime, please read a sample below and see if you like it.

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce