Audiobook Review: Some Kind of Fairly Tale by Graham Joyce

26 07 2012

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce

Read by John Lee

Blackstone Audio

Length: 9 Hrs 57 Min

Genre: Magical Realism, Fantasy

Quick Thoughts: Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a beautiful, vivid tale of relationships colored with a touch of the fantastic. Joyce never spoon feeds his readers but creates a vibrant mosaic for each person to translate on their own. Some Kind of Fairy Tale is simply wonderful storytelling and one of the most rewarding tales I have experienced this year.

Grade: A

Listening to Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce led me to a very important life decision. I have decided that if someone I love tells me they were abducted by fairies, I’m just going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Now, I really don’t believe in fairies, but I know that there are plenty of things about this world that I don’t know or understand and I am willing to keep an open mind. Far too often, in fiction, we see a character come to loved ones with a fantastic story, alien abduction, doppelgangers, chupacabra attacks, CIA mind reading teams or the family dog talking to them, and people just decide that these previously sensible people have gone off their rockers. As readers of fiction, we decry these actions, asking why, or why, don’t they just listen to this person telling them of the deep conspiracy involving oil conglomerates, a rouge NSA agent and dolphin’s telepathy? Even worse, this person may actually have supernatural powers that the person has relied upon before, but “Oh no…” this time it’s just too over the top to listen to their mind reading, ghost whispering, werewolf hunting loved one. Well, I have decided to not be that guy.  I decided to be the one person in that person’s life that they can turn to for a non-judgmental, and maybe a bit gullible, ear. I will be the person who buys the tin foil for hat making purposes, or ties them down in iron so fairies won’t drag them off to a land of sensual pleasures. I really think it’s the least I can do.

After a fight with her boyfriend, Tara Martin wonders off in the woods, and disappears, only to show up 20 years later on Christmas day at her patents doorsteps, looking remarkably young for her age. Tara’s returns rips open the wounds of her disappearance for the Martin Family, particularly her brother Peter, and her boyfriend Richie. Yet, when she tells the story of the cause of her disappearance, and the six months she spends living in a strange village, her loved one need to decide whether she is simply lying, or has lost her mind. Some Kind of Fairy Tale is exactly as the title suggests, a fairy tale of a different sort. Yes, there are moments of magic and a definite feeling of otherness that flirts around the edges of the tale, but at its core the story is about reality. Tara’s unbelievable tale, while hurtful and confusing to those who loves her, is also the catalyst to this broken group of wonderful characters finding the strength to overcome the past and fix their relationships. Joyce’s prose is delightful, and full of whimsy. His descriptions of Peter’s family life, with its everyday tasks and children’s insistent pestering had the feel of an old nursery rhyme. He describes the mundane with a rhythmic poetry that gives the realism an almost magical feel. Tara’s sessions with her psychiatrist are especially well done, with Tara’s belief in her magical story battling against the doctors belief of her confabulation. In many ways, Tara needs to believe her dark tales, as it has altered her perception of and ability to live with reality, and the Doctor needs to believe her tale is covering for a traumatic event as it has profound affects on his past. .Joyce allows his characters to develop with the mysteries, having each characters secrets revealed as a counterpoint to Tara’s story. It all comes together beautifully, with an ending that tickles the imagination of the skeptics and places enough doubts for the accepting fantasists. Joyce’s endings are never clean, but complex revelations that allows the readers to answer their own questions, and Some Kind of Fairly Tale is no exception. Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a beautiful, vivid tale of relationships colored with a touch of the fantastic. Joyce never spoon feeds his readers but creates a vibrant mosaic for each person to translate on their own. Some Kind of Fairy Tale is simply wonderful storytelling and one of the most rewarding tales I have experienced this year.

John Lee brings the perfect approach in his narration of Some Kind of Fairy Tale. Lee is telling you the tale with the rhythms of a bedtime story, capturing the magical edges of Joyce’s prose with natural skill. His characters are fully realized and as complicated as Joyce writes them. Yet, there was one aspect of the audiobook that gave me mixed feelings. Lee only slightly alters his baritone voice  when he reads Tara’s accounts of her time living in the fairy village. While his reading was appropriate in tone and rhythm, I wonder if these segments would have been more effective with a female narrator. It’s a tough question for me, because the rest of his work is utterly brilliant, and his reading of these segments is well done, but it was also the only points of the book that Lee’s narration pulled me out of Joyce’s world. I am really torn about whether it would have been worth the narrator transition to bring in a female narrator for these scenes, but it was something I though about as I listened. Despite this one thing, Some Kind of Fairy Tale was simply brilliant, and I would highly recommend it to anyone whether they like a good fairy tale or not.

Note: Tanks to Blackstone Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.

Stefan of Far Beyond Reality is currently running a giveaway for 12 Print copies of this wonderful novel. So, check out Stefan’s review of Some Kind of Fairy Tale, then sign up for his giveaway,

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3 responses

26 07 2012
Stefan (Far Beyond Reality)

Great review! (But – you called Tara “Julia” a few times.) And thank you for the link!

27 07 2012
Devourer of Books

So, this sounds awesome and I adore John Lee = GETTING IT. BTW, next time I’m abducted by aliens I’m totally coming to you first.

27 12 2012
My Top 20 Audiobooks of 2012 « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] My Review […]

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