Some Kind of Fairy Tale: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
Condition: :
Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous ownerâ€TMs name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Some Kind of Fairy Tale: A Novel Hardcover – July 10, 2012

See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$0.83 $0.03
Multimedia CD
"Please retry"

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Introducing The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Ed edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780385535786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385535786
  • ASIN: 0385535783
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Here is a keenly observed tale of a family in crisis, one that mixes fantasy and psychiatry in a potent cocktail.”
Stephen King: The Best Books I Read in 2012, Entertainment Weekly

"Joyce’s ravishing novel is about disruption and grief, about the risks of being charmed or stolen away from what we love. Though he draws faithfully on English folklore, Joyce has clearly gone beyond book-learning and made the “crossing at twilight” to the fairy kingdom himself. His writing is enthralling, agile and effortless."
New York Times

“Graham Joyce's new novel Some Kind of Fairy Tale is one of the most impressive fantasy books we've read in ages…. Graham Joyce has obviously steeped himself in fairy-tale lore, and his attention to detail (and to the significance of those details) is pretty astonishing. But what really makes Some Kind of Fairy Tale stand head and shoulders above most other fantasy novels I've read lately is the strong focus on the characters. Joyce's slow, careful narrative style draws you in to a story that's as much a family drama as it is a magical adventure…. Joyce takes a steady, masterful approach that explores one simple story from every angle, holding it up to the light until we see the hidden images revealed by each separate facet. Joyce has written a brilliant book that will make you think about the meaning of fairytales in a new way.”

“Ultimately, it isn’t Joyce’s clever self-awareness that pushes Fairy Tale into the stratosphere. It’s the way he weaves these twisty ideas into a straightforward, achingly resonant story of a broken man who’s found his long-lost sister. His prose and dialogue, even more than usual, are carved with balance, clarity, and subtlety. As a writer, Joyce is often praised as “unsentimental.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Sentiment underscores everything in Fairy Tale, from Tara’s struggle to establish her sanity to the heartsick people who loved who she was—and are trying to love what she’s become. That sentiment, though, is rarely precious, and it never comes cheap. As its title trumpets, Some Kind Of Fairy Tale meditates on the nature of what it means to tell stories. But wisely and hauntingly, it does so through a spellbinding story of its own.” (grade A)
A.V. Club

“Joyce’s fiction is an unusual—and unusually satisfying—hybrid. He’s interested in all the things that preoccupy literary novelists: finely drawn characters, the beauty and sadness of life’s inevitable transitions, families in all their ambiguous and endlessly fascinating complexity. His prose is precise and unsentimental. Yet into the fabric of these relationships he weaves elements of folklore and myth, which he presents both as real and as manifestations of primal aspects of the human experience.”

“Haunting, brilliant…Few writers today can match Joyce in evoking the beauty of that delicate balance, in conveying the fantasy of ordinary life or the ordinariness of the fantastic. People, pay attention.”
Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

"Dark and haunting."
The Free Lance–Star

“Absorbing…Keep an open mind.”

"Fans of novels featuring dark, haunted woods, overgrown English moors and changelings hidden in the dense brush will be absolutely delighted by the hypnotizing mystery of Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairy Tale. Joyce opens with the promising setup of a returned, thought-for-dead protagonist, blending reality with imagination as he explores what really happened to Tara Martin."

"Reading [Some Kind of Fairy Tale] by Graham Joyce is a little like stepping into an enormous, brilliantly camouflaged mantrap. At first, you don't even realize what's happened. Then, slowly, you discover that he has drawn you into a strange, dreamlike place, and you can't leave, even if doing so simply means closing the book. Not that you'd want to. Joyce's books are as seductive as anything you'll find in contemporary fiction."
Richmond Times-Dispatch

"In sum, Some Kind of Fairy Tale is fantastically formed, complete with a gently portentous premise, a marvellous cast of characters, and a narrative as smart and self-reflexive as it is at first old-fashioned. Enigmatic and intellectual, yes, yet readily accessible and massively satisfying, Joyce’s latest is a joy."

"Reality and fairy tale are beautifully interwoven in this contemplative story about relationships, love, and dreams. In a unique blend of thriller and fantasy, Joyce creates a delightful page-turner that his fans and newcomers alike will find hard to put down." 

About the Author

GRAHAM JOYCE, a winner of the O. Henry Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award, lives in Leicester, England, with his family. His books include The Silent Land, Smoking Poppy, Indigo (a New York Times Notable Book of 2000), The Tooth Fairy (a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998), and Requiem, among others.

Customer Reviews

I felt the ending was a bit of an anti-climactic let down.
I found this to be completely absorbing--excellent character development and story line--a really well written book and a good tale.
Jean Turicik
I really wanted to know more and felt cheated when I didn't get it.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A. J Terry on May 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Twenty years ago, the lovely, charming, sixteen-year-old Tara Martin disappeared in a remnant of English primeval forest. Her parents were distraught, hundreds of searchers combed the area, and the police arrested her budding-rock-musician boyfriend Richie on suspicion of murder. Then without warning, Tara shows up at her parents' door on Christmas Day looking thin, dirty--and still sixteen. Of course her parents and her now-middle-aged brother Peter ask where she's been. Tara claims she met a man on a white horse, who asked her to ride away with him to the place most people call Fairyland. She was there for only six months, but the world she returned to has aged twenty years.

Much of the suspense in Some Kind of Fairy Tale centers around where Tara has really been, and even whether she's really Tara. She's sent to a dentist who confirms her identity--but also her age of sixteen. She's sent for a physical examination and a brain scan, but she's healthy. She's sent to an elderly, eccentric psychiatrist called Vivian Underwood to whom she narrates her experiences, since almost no one else will listen. The experiences are at once beautiful and frightening, awe inspiring and base--Joyce uses folklore as an anchor rather than merely repeating it. Underwood diagnoses amnesia and some delusional system (he can't decide on the label) that both conceals and symbolizes the cruel but more ordinary abuse he assumes that Tara is suppressing. Her parents and brother accept his diagnosis, but their relief and tolerance soon give way to irritation because Tara doesn't conform to their lower-middle-class conventions of behavior. Richie, however, still loves and accepts Tara unconditionally, and she's pulling him out of the emotional and musical slump he's been in for years.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Diana Faillace Von Behren TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What can I say about a Graham Joyce novel that I haven't said before? Joyce has never ceased to entertain me with his eclectic and adept ability to blend fantasy and reality together in a way that is not only believable, but incandescent. In "Some Kind of Fairy Tale," his skill as a storyteller seems to flow effortlessly, meandering here and there, revealing snippets of the lives of people growing older, whose dreams have not quite withered on the vine of experience and quotidian living, but have weathered, hardened and metamorphosed into something a bit different from youthful expectations.

Within this slowly changing landscape live Peter, his wife Genevieve, and his children. During the halcyon days of young adulthood, Peter considers working in the field of psychology, but when doubt and disappointment flicker through his mind like a dark shadow he decides instead to become a blacksmith.

Over twenty years before, he and his best mate Richie cease being friends. His sixteen-year-old sister Tara whom Richie loves with a passionate and jealous abandon disappears while walking through the woods and their parents and the authorities look upon Richie as the prime suspect.

Now seemingly from out of nowhere, Tara returns looking frazzled but not a day older from that moment twenty years earlier when she entered the wood. Her explanation borders on the delusional; she was abducted by one of the little people--a handsome fairy who took her to a place far away in an adjacent reality where time is measured differently. As far as she is concerned only six months have passed.

Mixed emotions of relief, incredulity and anger catapult her family and in particular Peter into a mode of defensiveness that no amount of recounting can erode. Was she abducted?
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leah on June 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tara Martin disappeared more than a decade ago. She left behind her distraught parents, haunted boyfriend Richie, and her hurting younger brother Peter. Now, years later, Tara has come back. And her whereabouts have everyone questioning what's real what isn't. Tara claims that she has been away with the fairies in their world.

SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE had a wonderful idea: is Tara's story true? Is there really a fairy world? I love ambiguous fantasy, and this book definitely had that. I was left wondering if I had just had the wool pulled over my eyes constantly, which I like. Graham Joyce's language is beautiful and descriptive; he uses it to create England and the supposed fairy world unique.

However, I had some problems dealing with the pacing and the actions of the characters. The book takes its time to let the characters come into their own. We see Tara and Peter's parents interactions with each other, then how they interact with their children. We see how Peter interacts with his wife and their children, all while dealing with Tara's arrival. Also, Tara narrates a few chapters to explain her side of the story. Because of this, the pacing feels anticlimactic. The switch in narration was disorienting.

I am in the minority when it comes to this book. While beautifully written, it was easy for me to put this down or skip ahead to see how certain characters dealt with their feeling toward Tara. For a select audience.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Heidi on March 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
In Graham Joyce's Some Kind of Fairy Tale, a 15 year old girl, Tara, suddenly disappears only to reappear 20 years later to her aging boyfriend and family. Her brother, Peter, has married and had children of his own. Her boyfriend, Richie, a musician, never married and spend his life grieving over the loss of Tara. Her aging parents are shocked to see her again. Her mother is angry; her father sympathetic but unbelieving of her story. Tara claims she was seduced by a fairy into an alternate realm and was gone only 6 months. Time passed differently in this other land and she had been unable to return immediately due to the laws of physics and the way they intersected with phases of the moon and the time of day, dusk being the ideal time to cross over between the worlds. Medical tests corroborate her story - her dental age is approximately the age at which she disappeared, and she has a very youthful appearance, in spite of fine lines around her eyes that hadn't been there before.

Peter makes Tara see a psychiatrist, who devises a complicated theory of confabulation to explain the lost 20 years of her life. Peter's wife, Genevieve, believes Tara didn't want to face up to the responsibilities of adulthood and "bummed around" for the past 20 years. As the story unfolds, it comes out that Tara had become pregnant by Richie and had an abortion just before her disappearance. Richie was the prime suspect and was accused of her murder at the time, although he was later aquitted because he never confessed and there was no direct evidence against him. The incident resulted in his estrangement from Tara's family, although he reunited with them after she reappeared.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?