Book Report — Good Fairies of New York

Oh, my aching back . . . and front . . .

I’m having some sort of weird pain today that is keeping me from thinking straight. What a great time to write a blog post!

UPDATE: I have to go to the Dr. this afternoon to make sure it’s not my appendix. Drat! I hate doctors! (Sorry to my FIL, who was an awesome Dr.) Send me your good thoughts, please!

I mentioned that I read three whole books on vacation — and here’s the first of them

The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar

Brief description from Publishers Weekly:

British author Millar offers fiercely funny (and often inebriated) Scottish fairies, a poignant love story as well as insights into the gravity of Crohn’s disease, cultural conflicts and the plight of the homeless in this fey urban fantasy. Due to the machinations of the obnoxious Tala, Cornwall’s fairy king, only a few humans can see the 18-inch-tall fairies who alight in Manhattan: Magenta, a homeless woman who thinks she’s the ancient Greek general Xenophon; Dinnie, an overweight slacker; and Kerry, a poor artist/musician who hopes her Ancient Celtic Flower Alphabet will win a local arts prize. Fairies Heather MacKintosh and Morag MacPherson scheme to put Dinnie and Kerry together, rescue fairy artifacts and prove that in love or war, music is essential.

The primary appeal of this book for me was that I could imagine Violet writing it in the not too distant future. Some of it, I could imagine her having written already. When I read a story about fairies, it’s hard not to — she is my A-1 source for fairy fiction. And then some of it, I don’t ever want to imagine her writing — like the parts when the TV is on as background and keeps blaring out 1-900-HOT-SEXX (only much, much cruder) numbers. Plus the fairies often have hangovers — they are Scottish, whisky-drinking fiddle players.

I was reminded a lot of Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume). That’s a good thing — I enjoy the silliness of his books, the elements of the fantastic blended with “low culture” stuff like hangovers and punk rock. On the other hand, that’s a bad thing — I never liked how Tom Robbins wrote about women and sex, and I get a similar vibe (sorry!) here. Women in Tom Robbins are always hot and ready, and preferably bixsexual — which is fine for women who genuinely fall into that category, but I always got the sense that they were that way because Tom Robbins wanted his women that way. I have a strong negative reaction to men writing about “sexually liberated” women when that really means “sexually available to any jackass who crosses her path.”

Which is not exactly what the women in The Good Fairies of New York are like. I just got that same feeling with the fairies, whose sexual liberation is likewise demonstrated by the fact that they will f@$% anything that moves. It’s the kind of thing that some readers would probably gloss right over, the way we all read past problems in books we otherwise like, but for me it was like a fog that clouded up the whole experience.

Final Verdict: Three stars: Liked it, didn’t love it. Library-worthy, perhaps not purchase-worthy. For those who will not be turned off by hoardes of fairies, or lengthy discussions of Crohn’s disease, a decent beach read.

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2 Comments

Filed under Music and Art

2 responses to “Book Report — Good Fairies of New York

  1. knittingthewind

    I hope you are feeling better by the time you read this comment. Perhaps its just a UTI? I certainly hope its not your appendix! Wishing you well indeed.

  2. Sounds like an interesting book. If you like “fairy” type storeis check out Borderland, a book of short stories set in a cros-over world.

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