Thursday, November 09, 2006

Book Review: The Good Fairies of New York


The Good Fairies of New York

by Martin Millar

Two Scottish fairies on a binge get lost and end up in New York, where they collapse in the home of Dinnie MacKintosh. The two fairies, Heather and Morag, split up after an argument, and Morag moves across the street, where she "adopts" Kerry, a beautiful but lonely young woman with Chrons disease. Heather, on learning that Dinnie is a fellow MacKintosh, decides to make him her project, in spite of the fact that he is unpleasant, overweight, anti-social, and a terrible violin player. Meanwhile, a group of Cornish and Irish fairies who had been traveling with Heather and Morag, end up in Central Park. Puckish chaos and mayhem ensue, as the fairies variously steal, binge, incite race wars, and try to get Dinnie and Kerry to fall in love with each other.

The Good Fairies of New York is unlike anything I've ever read before. By turns rollicking and cutting, it's funny and great fun to read. The social commentary on issues like race relations and homelessness is pointed but humorously done, and it never gets in the way of the story, which moves along at a fast pace. The characters are fascinating and sympathetic; even Dinnie starts to grow on you.

This is NOT NOT NOT a book for children. In fact, as I read it, I started to feel a bit like a prude - I found parts of it quite shocking. The fairies engage in quite a bit of drinking and sex, although I thought that part in general was not overly offensive. However, I thought that the phone sex channel which Dinnie watches was over the top. I realize that it's important in the development of Dinnie's character, but I personally found it hard to read.

Adults and worldly older teens who are not uncomfortable with crude sexual references will find this book quite engaging and worth reading.

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