Audiobook – Some Kind of Fairy Tale

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Twenty years ago, Tara Martin disappeared.  Her parents, brother, and boyfriend all had to deal with the different consequences of her disappearance, and know that she cannot be alive.  But on Christmas Eve, Tara’s father answers the door to find his daughter home again.  Only Tara looks just as she did when she was sixteen, and tells her family a strange story that they cannot believe.  Her brother, Peter, and her ex-boyfriend Richie react differently to her return, but each person in her life struggles with the truth behind her disappearance.

Graham Joyce has mastered enchanting language with Some Kind of Fairy Tale.  The basic writing pulls you into the story, leaving you intrigued and wanting to know more about the people in the story.  His characters are multilayered, and each approaches Tara’s fairy excuse with different layers of belief and skepticism.  This keeps the story very much grounded in the real world while still playing in the fringes of fantasy.  It is a great approach for an adult novel.

That being said, while the technical writing is strong, Joyce makes the unfortunate mistake of telling the bulk of his story instead of showing it.  Through long narrative flashbacks, Tara’s visits with a psychiatrist, and even the psychiatrist’s notes, we can piece together the events of Tara’s disappearance, the fallout for Richie and for Patrick, and the reaction to her sudden reappearance.  However, we rarely get to see these events as they unfold.  Instead, we are told them, and had I been reading the book instead of listening to it, I would have more quickly tired of the pages of straight quotes.  There are better ways to tell of events that happened in the past, but Joyce seems unable to do anything other than have one character tell it to another.

While the book is intriguing and unique, I found it hard to put up with some of its shortfalls.  I am sure there are those of you who would find this book enchanting and refreshing for the fantasy world, but for me it struggled on too many levels.

Rating: 5/10

Audibook Rating: 7/10

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