Book reviews from The Free Lance-Star.
Something magical is happening
MISSING GIRL’S RETURN AFTER 20 YEARS MYSTIFIES
By Drew Gallagher
For The Free Lance–Star
IF THERE was one positive from the recent spate of storms and subsequent power outages (global warming, anyone?) it was that I had Graham Joyce’s “Some Kind of Fairy Tale” to read. No television was no problem as long as I had waning daylight to read by.
There is a portion of England that lies upon a fault line and, according to English lore, the air and grounds around this portion of the country emit a bit of magic. Depending upon which myth or legend you happen upon, the magic and mystery can be benevolent or profoundly haunting. It is near this land that teenager Tara Martin wandered after
a rough breakup with her boyfriend. It is near this land that she returns home 20 years after vanishing.
Tara’s parents, brother and the boyfriend have all carried on with lives after hoping in earnest that Tara might turn up and willing themselves not to fear the worst. But when Tara returns, she has barely changed except for the tale she spins about her whereabouts for the last 20 years.
The family wants to believe her and accept her back into the fold, but the tale is so tall that they can’t wrap their minds around it.
There are faint echoes of Keith Donohue’s masterpiece “The Stolen Child” in “Some Kind of Fairy Tale,” and Joyce’s effort is every bit as entertaining as Donohue’s.
Both authors demonstrate that they owe a debt to W.B. Yeats and his poem “The Stolen Child,” and borrowing the kernel of an idea from Yeats is never a bad thing.
And like the classic poem, “Some Kind of Fairy Tale” is dark and haunting at points. All the characters find that a lot changes in 20 years, especially when those decades have included the absence of a loved one and, for the absent one, who hasn’t aged, the return can be even more troubling.
Joyce doesn’t intersperse just Yeats regarding fairies and changelings at the start of each chapter—one from Einstein was my favorite: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
So it has to be a good thing if Einstein says it’s so and I’d venture that even adults would be well-served to partake in the occasional fairy tale or fantasy novel. I’d highly recommend starting with “Some Kind of Fairy Tale.”
Drew Gallagher is a freelance reviewer in Spotsylvania County.
SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE
By Graham Joyce
(Doubleday, $24.95, 320 pp.)
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