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The Good Fairies of New York [Paperback]

By Martin Miller & Neil Gaiman (Introduction by)
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Item description for The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Miller & Neil Gaiman...

Finding themselves in the very unusual world of Manhattan, a pair of Scottish thimble fairies apply their folk wisdom to assist a pair of down-and-out humans, including Kerry, who struggles with a colostomy bag, and Dinnie, who exhibits anti-social behaviors. Original.

Publishers Description
The Good Fairies of New York is a story that starts when Morag and Heather, two eighteen-inch fairies with swords and green kilts and badly-dyed hair fly through the window of the worst violinist in New York, an overweight and antisocial type named Dinnie, and vomit on his carpet. Who they are, and how they came to New York, and what this has to do with the lovely Kerry, who lives across the street, and who has Crohn's Disease and is making a flower alphabet, and what this has to do with the other fairies (of all nationalities) of New York, not to mention the poor repressed fairies of Britain, is the subject of this book. It has a war in it, and a most unusual production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Johnny Thunders' New York Dolls guitar solos. What more could anyone desire from a book?

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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 20, 2006
Publisher   Soft Skull Press
ISBN  1933368365  
ISBN13  9781933368368  

Availability  0 units.

More About Martin Miller & Neil Gaiman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Martin Miller has an academic affiliation as follows - Duke University, North Carolina.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Authors, A-Z > ( G ) > Gaiman, Neil
4Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Contemporary
5Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Good Fairies of New York?

Entertaining but a bit breathy  Sep 16, 2008
I bought this book as I am a massive Neil Gaiman fan. I must admit I expected a writing of similar style, but while the genre may be similar, what I found was a very pacy journey. The story is entertaining, and to think on fairies as you would humans, is an interesting concept. Personally though, I prefer to keep them on an altar in my mind!
Punk fairy invasion  Aug 8, 2008
Most urban fantasy that's currently being published is made up of werewolves, vampires, dark cities and lots of violence and/or sex.

Not so for Martin Millar. Instead, he creates a different kind that is no less urban or fantastical -- incredibly complex, comedic little novels spun out of thistledown prose. And "The Good Fairies of New York" is a primo example of this -- a mixture of rock'n'roll, Celtic fairy tales, and New York chaos, with a little love story and lots of fairy warfare woven in.

Two Scottish thistle fairies arrive on the surly, overweight Dinnie's window, and puke on the carpet. "Don't worry," one says. "Fairy vomit is no doubt sweet-smelling to humans."

But soon the fairies Heather and Morag have a spat, and Morag ends up stomping to Dinnie's neighbor Kerry, a sweet neohippie. The two fairies stick with their new friends throughout the days that follow -- Heather tries to teach Dinnie to play the fiddle, and Morag accompanies Kerry on a Chinatown shoplift trip, and the making of her Celtic flower alphabet. Then Kerry's rare triple-bloom poppy is stolen repeatedly.

And Heather and Morag decide (separately) to bring Dinnie and Kerry together (for very different reasons). Unfortunately, the fairies' attempts to help their friends ends in massive warfare between the Italian, Chinese and Ghanaian fairies of New York -- especially when Scottish thugs and Cornish royalty arrive. Wrecked fairy banners, a legendary violin, a deranged homeless woman who believes herself to be Xenophon, Johnny Thunders' ghost, and Tullochgorum are all thrown into the mix. Can Morag and Heather overcome their differences and somehow save the day?

You can tell what kind of book "The Good Fairies of New York" is by the title alone. Obviously it takes place in New York, and it is mostly populated by (mostly) benevolent fairies. But it's also a gloriously frothy fantasy story that grows more wonderfully chaotic as it goes on, and tackles everything from the proper way to play a fairy reel to avant-garde adaptations of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

It's also very tangled up. There are about a hundred different subplots all interwoven together like little strips of silk, and Millar is magically able to juggle all of them throughout the book before tying them neatly together at the finale. Some of them are sweet little stories (the rebel leader desperately wooing his enemy's daughter), and some are just delightfully kooky (the spirit of Johnny Thunders trying to reclaim his prized guitar).

And not only is the frothy plot complex, but it's also hilariously funny. Millar has a spare, tongue-in-cheek style that breezes by smoothly, and it's peppered with jokes on every single page ("So this is the end of the romance?" "Of course not! A passionate young fairy like myself does not let a little thing like a knife attack put him off"). The height of the hilarity involves Morag's confession about what she and Heather did to the fairy flag.

Heather and Morag are a fun pair -- punk rock thistle-fairies who feud constantly when they aren't fast friends, and who have a knack for causing mass mayhem. The airy neohippie Kerry is a likable foil to the fairies, and her crippling disease adds a bit of pathos to the story. Dinnie remains too surly to ever be quite likable, especially given how many TV sex ads he watches.

"The Good Fairies of New York" lives up to its name -- a charming little book with a rock'n'roll edge, a big grimy city, and an abundance of very odd fairy characters. Not your average urban fantasy.
Real Men Read About Fairies  Aug 1, 2008
That's right. I'm not ashamed to admit it in the least. I like stories about fairies. I'm not about to traipse off into the daisies looking for them anytime soon, mind you; but I'm a huge fan, nonetheless, and my wife still manages to consider me a braw hunk o' man, the Heid Bummer, as it were. She perhaps forgives me due to my Scotch-Irish heritage. And so when I find a new book about fairies, I tend to grab it without hesitation.

Long story short: I liked this story about fairies better than any I've ever read before.

Old-fashioned depictions of fairies, like those George MacDonald spun - and even the faux old-fashioned tales from Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman - are usually great fun to read (even if they make fairies out to be unfathomably more cruel and creepy than I think they ought). To me, the eerie mists of "faerie" have been long overdue for a right good blowout... and here along comes Heather and Morag, punked-out and ready to provide it!

What Martin Millar does in this book is nothing less than astounding. His rendering of current-day New York is seamless, for starters. He has that gift of all great writers for showing the whole by using the least part needed for his purpose. New York is the crucial backdrop to this tale. That "New Yorkness" is undeniable, permeating every page, and yet I never once as a reader thought anything like "here he goes again, describing something about New York". No. His prose weaves setting into plot with such deftness that I found myself absolutely transfixed. What a tapestry he created!

In his characterizations of the fairies Millar delivers to us a much more modern interpretation of their culture and personalities, greatly akin to what I find when reading Colfer's Artemis Fowl books. Yet Millar's fairies are still plenty old-fashioned enough to make the long-time fairy fan in me roundly applaud. He manages to appeal to many of the old tropes while making for us a fairy culture that still feels remarkably new and fresh.

Millar guides us into his world as seen through the wondering (but often bleary) eyes of the main two fairy protagonists, Heather and Morag. The perfection of their portrayals I can't even begin to describe. Suffice it to say that he does it exactly, wonderfully right. Millar then proceeds to gift us with a whole raft of other characters who become steadily more beautifully realized as the story progresses. Both fairy and human characters are rendered masterfully at every turn, with hardly a clichéd role or tired stereotype in sight. Or, at least, Millar is so adept at disguising such tactics that I neither noticed nor minded when I vaguely did.

There is a tension at the heart of the story - between the amazing magic that can be wrought by what's traditional and ancient and beautiful and right and governed by kindness and common sense and decency (and love, of course)... versus the modern notion of focusing on what's merely possible or impossible, just because your power can or can't make it so... and the miracles that can sometimes happen right in the midst of the struggle.

Of course this means that Millar's sense of irony is marvelously acute. He has an astounding ability to capture and depict the ironic with the lightest, subtlest of touches - which is really the only way irony works in literature, when the reader can manage to "get it" for him or herself, having been oh so gently and invisibly lead there by the author.

Then there's the background of music that suffuses the story. The strathspeys, the Dolls' solos, the pipes in Central Park. The structure of music, in terms of rhythm, repetition, motif... there are musical parallels throughout the book that resonate with a great deal of power by its end. What does that have to do with the commercials that Dinnie likes to watch? Or with the marching of Magenta in and out of the narrative, a cadence that is more and more prominent as time wears on? Or with the smashing of instruments, for that matter?

Let me just put it this way: by the book's last few scenes, the magic, the music, the love, the irony all crash splendidly together into a kind of literary harmony that I rarely see these days.

Finally, there's a blatant, yet organic, social-political stance being asserted in this book; but this story couldn't possibly have been told without it. Makes me wonder what came first for Millar - the polemic or the thistle fairies? I think, considering the masterpiece this is, that surely the sweet little rockers from Cruickshank got to him first. The attacks Millar launches come across at every turn like they couldn't help but bust out. Since he so deftly presents this urban American mess of ours as seen through the eyes of his tiny heroines - wise yet innocent (ignorant? naive?) - how such creatures seek to interpret our world is something Millar is practically bound by craft to dive into and richly explore.

To paraphrase Neil Gaiman, from the preface to Millar's astounding work, you'd better make sure you read it, then make your friends all read it, too.

(And did I mention that I've got a little fanboy crush? Don't tell my dear, sweet, tolerant wife, but Heather is the haws!) ;D
Millar Has A New Follower  Jul 23, 2008
There are approximately a kagillion reasons to buy this book. I was pretty much convinced by author Martin Millar saying he was a Buffy fan in the "about the author" section, and the fact that The Sandman writer Neil Gaiman wrote an introduction to the book didn't hurt at all.

The first chapter had me thrilled, as the story really got rolling right away. Two Scottish thistle fairies who have a very love/hate relationship land in the apartment of a grumpy man named Dinnie. The relationship between the two fairies (Heather and Morag) is at once hilarious and captivating, but the real treat was to see how each of the fairies interacted with the two main human characters, Dinnie and a woman suffering from Crohn's disease named Kerry. After a few chapters, however, I started to become troubled, because it seemed Millar was introducing many characters and many plots very early in the story, and it seemed as if it would be hard to juggle. However, Millar's style is so smooth, and precise yet easy to read, that he is able to juggle the many plots and keep the narrative simple and addicting.

As Gaiman says in the introduction, it is plain to see that Martin Millar really cares about these characters and truly loves the story that he is telling. The joy Millar took in writing each sly joke and mind-bogglingly wonky plot twist really translates to the reader, which made for a very pleasant reading experience. I've never been really huge on fairy stories, but this is just a truly solid, well written book by an author that I plan to invest in.

Only In New York  Apr 12, 2008
In what other city could you imagine there would be fairie race riots with real fairies. Before you start this book you have to know that in the end it is cute to the nth level, enough sweetness to kill a diabetic and then some. But that's what makes it so much fun to read. The two fairies in this book who are the main culprits want nothing but to start a 'punk rock' revolution among the Scottish Fairies. So what's not to like.

Enjoy this book as nothing more than brain candy, and leave all thoughts of reality and relevance behind.

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