Title: Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Author: Graham Joyce
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
When Tara Martin disappeared as a teenager, her brother, Peter, and their parents accepted the fact that she would never return. So when she shows up twenty years later on her parents’ doorstep, the entire family is shocked, especially because she doesn’t look any older than she was when she disappeared. What’s more, Tara’s story about where she was during this time period is difficult to believe and makes Peter question whether this is really his sister who’s returned.
Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a novel that tests the readers’ limits of belief. Tara is an appealing character, but her story about where she’s been (there’s a big hint in the title of the novel) isn’t credible. Readers may still want to believe her, but trustworthy, rational Peter acts as the devil’s advocate, the logical side to the reader’s brain. It’s interesting to see the toll this takes on Tara; she is happy to finally be home, but no one believes what she claims to be the truth.
From the beginning, the reader is aware of the fact that the unnamed narrator of the book isn’t trustworthy. It casts an interesting light on Some Kind of Fairy Tale, making it an intensely psychological read. The reader doesn’t know who they can believe, nor what is real. It gets more interesting as the narration jumps around; the reader tries to piece together what happened when Tara disappeared, and the varying accounts provide plenty of fodder for dissection and discussion.
Graham Joyce is an excellent writer, and he tells the story of Some Kind of Fairy Tale beautifully. The descriptions are vivid, and the entire novel has an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere that fits in very well with the nature of the plot. Joyce’s writing style also enhances the psychological suspense of the novel, as readers see the fallout from Tara’s disappearance, as well as the repercussions of her return. Tara herself is torn between her family and the life she left behind, and her desire to return to that foreign place permeates the novel.
If you’re looking for a quiet, atmospheric read that has elements of psychological suspense, Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a good book to pick up. It’s not incredibly fast paced, but it keeps the reader’s attention from beginning to end. Joyce takes his time building his narrative, and the reader is rewarded with a thoughtful, well-written novel with questions that will linger in their mind long after the last pages are turned.