Wednesday, March 11, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar

First line: "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."

With a first line like that, a recommend from Nymeth, and an introduction by Neil Gaiman ... well ... I just had to read this book!

The Good Fairies of New York is an urban fantasy of a different sort. It is a comedic look at the gritty urban landscape. The typical urban overload is present, but is overlaid by a hilarious fairy romp and an unlikely human romance.

Heather and Morag, two Scottish thistle fairies, have been run out of Scotland for desecrating clan icons. They are hard drinking, argumentative, vain and jealous and can always take a good situation and turn it bad. They also want to start a punk rock band. Not your typical Disney fairies.

"Dinnie stared glumly at the wall. If he had believed in fairies, he wouldn't have expected them to spend all their time bitching about each others' hairstyles."
These two contentious fairies bring an unlikely couple of humans together. Dinnie is an overweight and rude man who is "the worst violinist in New York." Kerry is a sweet natured, poor artist with blue hair and Crohn's disease. While Dinnie is aimless, Kerry has two goals: to win a community art contest with her ancient Celtic flower alphabet, and learn to play the entire repertoire of the New York Dolls on her guitar. Heather and Morag leave mayhem in their wake as they try to join these two humans, including a massive ethnic war between the Italian, Chinese, and Ghanian fairies.

Meanwhile, a crazed homeless woman stalks the streets of NYC thinking she is the ancient Greek general Xenophon, the ghost of New York Dolls' Johnny Thunders searches the city for his stolen Gibson guitar, and rehearsals take place for an avant-garde version of "A Midsummer Nights Dream."

Those who are from or have ever lived in a big city will recognize the insanity presented by Millar in this tongue-in-cheek look at life amidst the urban chaos. Morag sums it up well when she notes:
"Being human did seem to involve some very unpleasant things."

Rating: 4 out of 5

Note to other reviewers: If you've written a review for this book, please let me know by posting the permanent URL for your review in the comments. I'll be happy to add a link to your review with my post.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! He has a lovely sense of humour, doesn't he? You should try Lonely Werewolf Girl next - just as good if not better!

  2. Nymeth: I loved his humor! Thanks for the recommend of an additional Millar novel. I noticed the Lonely Werewolf Girl title and was wondering if it would be just as good.

  3. I loved this - thank you for the reminder!

  4. Wow! Sounds like this it has a little bit of everything. I'll keep my eyes open!

  5. fleurfisher: Glad to see some other Millar fans out there!

    Trish: I can't imagine actually writing something like this book. I admire authors who can do what Millar has done. Now I have to read something else by him and see if he can do it more than once!