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The Good Fairies of New York [Mass Market Paperback]

Martin Millar
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 3 2008

Dinnie, an overweight enemy of humanity, was the worst violinist in New York, but was practicing gamely when two cute little fairies stumbled through his fourth-floor window and vomited on the carpet. . . .

When a pair of fugitive Scottish thistle fairies end up transplanted to Manhattan by mistake, both the Big Apple and the Little People have a lot of adjusting to do. Heather and Morag just want to start the first radical fairy punk rock band, but first they’ll have make a match between two highly unlikely sweethearts, start a street brawl between rival gangs of Italian, Chinese, and African fairies, help the ghost of a dead rocker track down his lost guitar, reclaim a rare triple-bloomed Welsh poppy from a bag lady with delusions of grandeur, disrupt a local community performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and somehow manage to stay sober enough to save all of New York from an invasion of evil Cornish fairies.

If they can stop feuding with each other, that is.

A racy and irreverent novel by Martin Millar, winner of the World Fantasy Award.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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. Neil Gaiman provides an appreciative introduction. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

“Read it now, and then make your friends buy their own copies. You’ll thank me someday.”—Neil Gaiman

“The funniest writer in Britain today.”—GQ

“Millar offers fiercely funny (and often inebriated) Scottish fairies, a poignant love story, cultural conflicts, and the plight of the homeless in this fey urban fantasy.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Undeniably brilliant.”—The Guardian (UK)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Punk fairy invasion Sept. 7 2008
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! Aug. 26 2011
Format:Paperback
I loved this book. It was fun, humourous and well written. If you want a good read, something not too heavy, you should definitely pick this one up!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast and funny Oct. 25 2007
By CanadianMother TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I picked up The Good Fairies of New York after hearing it recommended on an online book community, and was pretty much hooked after reading the first line, which may give a good idea as to the style of the book:
"Dinnie, an overweight enemy of humanity, was the worst violinist in New York, but was practicing gamely when two cute little fairies stumbled through his fourth-floor window and vomited on the carpet."

I read through this book easily in a few days. I enjoyed the ribald humour and the constant bantering of the two Scottish fairy main characters, Heather and Morag, and I liked their human friends too--Kerry, a free-spirited rock-and-roll lover with a colostomy bag, and Dinnie, a grumpy, overweight violinist who lives above a theatre and likes to shout abuse at the rehearsing actors below. I laughed out loud many times before the book was over.

I hesitate to give it 5 stars. Although the book is not very long, it started to drag for me towards the end because I was simply getting tired of the same sorts of jokes over and over again, and I was eager for the story to end. I experienced the same thing reading Douglas Adams. After a while the wisecracks start to get on my nerves.

But overall it was a highly entertaining volume. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for some very unusual, off-the-wall fantasy or simply something uproariously funny. This is not a serious book to ponder over by any means. Although the fairies do make a few serious observations of humanity while they are in New York, these deep thoughts are lost in a sea of comedy.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice try Jan. 14 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was not my cup of tea. I must tell you that I did believe Neil Gayman, which I love but was very disappointed with the Fairies of NY. My personnel believe is that this book is very juvenil in it's attempt to fiction. It fell more like this author is used to write for kids but as let everything go from drink to sex to everything you can thing of, the fairies are doing it. No letting you imagination simply flot.

I also thought that the way it was written was very difficult to follow, maybe it's the editing, I don't know. When a paragraph was finished, there was not indication that you would jump right in another story line, from other fairies. I just don't recommend this for a good read, not funny.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  46 reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy magic wrapped up in the form of a book. A sky full of stars is the only rating that does this justice March 8 2008
By Lilly Flora - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ended up having a truly remarkable experience with this book that was almost spiritual. It involved a car, some pain pills, an unknown disease and my mother's voice. I have decided to revel the whole story here, even though it is quite personal so that readers may gain an understanding of exactly how special this book is.

I started reading "The Good Fairies of New York" in the car on the way to school when I had a terrible headache and my mother was running into the pharmacy to get me some pain pills. I loved the first chapter so much that on her return I read it aloud for her, intending to continue on reading by myself. But when I finished and stopped vocalizing the words she protested. "Don't stop there" she said, "this is great!"

So I read on. When we weren't in the car she would read to me. Progress was slow because our schedules conflicted, neither one of us was willing to cheat by going ahead alone and every now and then we would stop to remark on how amazing the book was. Then, sadly but truly, we forgot about the book for a while.

We forgot because I got sick, really sick. Like Kerry, the silvery-blue haired woman determined to make an ancient Celtic flower alphabet and win a community arts prize despite her crone's disease (only that's not what I have.) Confused, in a lot of pain, drugged and scared about what was happening to me we turned back to the book.

This time just my mother read. Whenever I was particularly depressed, or in so much pain I wanted to die or terrified that no one was ever going to figure out what was wrong with me, she would whip out the cheerful orange-cream sunset colored novel and read a chapter or two.

Through the adventures of Heather and Morag, two Scottish thistle fairies who landed in New York after being chased out of Scotland for desecrating sacred clan objects (among other things) and ended up with two humans-Dinny a loud, fat and mean bad fiddle player and Kerry, bent on revenge on her old boyfriend, I laughed. Tulip and Petal, prince and princess of Cornwall's fairy kingdom which their father Tala was turning into an industrial dictatorship and the friends who helped them escape living in Central Park always cheered me up. The endless coincidences surrounding Magenta, a bag lady who seems to think she's a Greek general, were something to ponder. And there's more.

For a relatively short book this has a complex plot and a huge cast of characters and somehow it all fits so well together that I can just imagine the author sitting up for days and nights making flow charts and diagrams as how to wrap it all up so perfectly.

By the time we'd reached the end (about eight months after we started) I even had a diagnosis. Call me crazy but I attribute this in part to the magic of this book. The perfect, crazy, hair die, rock and roll, inter racial, sacred, clannish, love, flower filled, whisky flowing, punk, homeless, artsy, Celtic, Italian, Chinese, Goninan and New York magic which flowed from every word in this book and out my mother's mouth.

Needless to say I recommend you read this out loud with someone you love. Failing that, try not to race through it because a book like this comes around once in a lifetime and the first reading should be savored.

Stars? This book doesn't need any stinking 1-5 star scale. It is a sky filled full of them.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this inspires me to live the crazy life April 18 2000
By lala - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book for at least the third time again last night, its the type of book that ensures that youre not at all embarassed to chuckle out loud on a bus because you know its worth it. Amazingly layered, and hilarious; if I could be an original writer like this i'd be damn happy.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally in print in the US! Oct. 20 2006
By C. Carroll - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I scour thrift shops for used books, and have stumbled upon some doozies in my time. One of my personal favorites has been the (out-of-print, and very expensive) UK 3-book collection of Martin Millar's unique fantasy novels. I knew nothing about the book or the author, but was intrigued by the day-glo green cover of a punk-rocker in a tu-tu, and the blurbs about the novels. This novel seemed the most interesting to me - I was intrigued by the idea of punk fairies. I read this book in a few days, staying up late, and enjoyed it immensely. The fairies are highly entertaining, and the human characters are very well-drawn and sympathetic, providing an intersting balance of comedy and pathos. I haven't read the other two books in my omnibus edition, I'm saving them. But, I am delighted to see that this book that I thought was so obscure and hard to find coming in to print in the US, and with a gushing intro by Neil Gaiman. I hope this book finds an audience, and that we get more of this author's works in print on this side of the Atlantic.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fairies Are On Their Way Home! April 9 2006
By Dee Marie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you haven't read The Good Fairies of New York, and especially if you are a New Yorker, or a New Yorker at heart, stop reading this right now, and immediately put your name on the Amazon.com pre-order list ... The Good Fairies have found their way back home to Amazon.com and to NYC, and everyone around the world is overly excited by the news!

I have been addicted to Martin Millar for over ten years. I was one of the lucky few to have purchased a copy of The Good Fairies of New York before it became an out-of-print statistic.

Martin has a talent for twisting the logic out of reality, and making you believe his tales are not mere inventions of his fragmented mind, but instead are actual events. The Good Fairies of New York will make you a believer, if not in fairies, at least in Martin's belief that they exist.

The Good Fairies is not a child's fairytale, but instead a tale that includes fairies. Martin's forte is writing about characters that are flawed (some physically flawed, all emotionally flawed). Although Martin brings a refreshing childlike innocence in his approach of character development, his books are very adult orientated.

He is not afraid to tackle serious subjects using a perverse sense of humor to lighten the mood when life becomes too grim. The Good Fairies will take you on an emotional ride that you will want to re-experience over and over.

All of Martin's books should have the following label ... Caution: be forewarned that all it takes is one book to become a Martin Millar junkie!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks the Faery Magick March 6 2008
By Carri Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Initially,I was attracted to the book by the seeming synchronicity of the subject matter and my life - a girl named Kerry with Crohn's disease who meets up with some fairies while living in NYC, and I myself, a girl named Carri, who has battled Crohn's disease, who lived in NYC and has a mild obsession for all things fae - not to mention, a forward by my favorite writer, Neil Gaiman, Fables and Reflections (Sandman, Book 6), to lure me in. Unfortunately, my familiarity with the subject matter made the book's disjointed narrative painfully slow to read. There are far too many characters which received little in the way of fleshing out (who is Aelric, or is it Aelis?) Even the two main fairy figures, Heather and Morag, essentially blended to one in my mind, since they retained little individuality, even in their constant arguing. Then, the contrived narrative hinges, including a dried flower, a fiddle, and a fairy flag, all three getting lost and found about a million times each, seemed relatively trite when compared with the reality of dealing with a disease as wasting as the one the main character suffers through. I was moved, but only in spells. And these fairy spells were lacking the magick required to earn a higher rating from me. The book may be more enjoyable for you if you have a special interest in the New York Dolls, and other punk bands, or if you have an interest in Ancient Greek warfare. But to me, these disparate, complicated threads stretched the plot too thin and kept me in a constant state of confusion. Neil Gaiman's forward only serves to point out how lacking this story truly is, when held next to his own brilliant tales.
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