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 imagine magic really is: “The Outwoods was one of the last remaining pockets of ancient forest… It was an eerie place, swinging between sunlight and damp, flaring light and shadow; a venue of twisted trees, its volcanic slopes of ash and granite ruptured by mysterious outcropping crags of the very oldest rocks in Britain.” pg 14, ebook.
I loved the twists and turns of the story and it had me questioning myself the entire time. Is Tara bonkers, injured in some way, or did something outside of her power actually spirit her away? “There is a veil to this world, thin as smoke, and it draws back occasionally and when it does we can see incredible things.” pg 142, ebook.
I also loved how Joyce used quotations from poetry, books, and an actual trial where a man was convicted of killing his wife because he thought she was a changeling (can you imagine?!) to introduce a few of the chapters. It was chilling- the deadly combination of superstition and violence and the trial in question happened, not in the dark ages, but 1895. Here’s Joseph Campbell’s thoughts that preface Chapter Twenty-Six: “Nevertheless- and here is a great key to the understanding of myth and symbol- the two kingdoms are actually one. The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know.” pg 169, ebook.
I did not like the surprising vulgarity of this tale, the few violent moments it contains, or when something terrible happens to a neighborhood cat but, if such things don’t bother you, you really must give Some Kind of Fairy Talea try. If you don’t already, it makes you believe in the possibility of other worlds and every day magic.
Some books with similar themes: Meeting the Other Crowd (non-fiction, but reads like fiction), Fairies: Real Encounters With Little People (non-fiction, again, reads like fiction) or Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds (classic work on real people and actual encounters with other worlds).
Thanks for reading!