Sunday, September 9, 2012

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by

Another one.  I mean, another good sink-your-teeth-in book.  I read this one in a matter of hours.

Christmas Day, Tara returns home.  Tara's been gone for 20 years but, upon her return, has hardly aged at all.  She looks tired, maybe wiser, but otherwise, she appears to be a 36-year-old in the body of a 16-year-old.  The story is told from various perspectives.  When Tara is telling her story, it is from her perspective, though the listener varies between her brother Peter, her ex-boyfriend Richie, and her shrink Vivian (Mr. Vivian Underwood).  Tara's story is the heart of it -- what events led up to her disappearance, where she was, what has happened since she has been back.

Sometimes the story is in first person, sometimes in third.  Sometimes the author uses quotes to indicate conversation, sometimes merely logic (e.g., He told me, don't do that).  Joyce uses a variety of quotes to intro his chapters, which quotes set the mood for the chapter and the perspective, the best of which are a transcription of the trial of Michael Cleary for the murder of his wife Bridget Cleary.

The book is well paced and pulls you through.  I really didn't put it down until I was done.  I was impressed with the way Joyce implemented the various perspectives and thought his voice was largely convincing for most if not all of the characters.  I particularly enjoyed Dr. Underwood's report, perspectives, conversations.

The first 50 or so pages aren't the best in the book.  It almost feels like a little too much set up before we get to "the goods."  I didn't think I really loved the ending, either, but I felt like I understood the reasoning behind it.  Then, upon further reflection, I was very impressed with the window that was left open.  It was all cinched up *just* enough to keep you wondering about absolutely all of it.  Which I am surprisingly very happy about because I normally like nice, neat packages.

I definitely recommend the book.  It falls somewhere between magical realism and fantasy.  It's interesting and well told.  And best of all, it's a real novel.

FOUR of five stars.

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