A Fairy Tale

A Fairy Tale

Book - 2014 | First edition.
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From one of Denmark's rising stars, a powerful and profound novel about a young boy and his father who live at the margins of society, until one day their adventure takes an unpredictable turn.

1986. Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme has been assassinated, and a young boy and his father are on the move again. Travelling from Sweden to the outskirts of Denmark and into the heart of Copenhagen, the two live an unconventional life, constantly on the move and living on the margins of society. The father, an eccentric, restless man, takes a series of odd jobs, from making antique furniture, to landscaping, to working as a bouncer at a strip club. By day he home-schools his young son. At night he weaves a fairy tale about a prince and a king who are on a mission to kill the wicked White Queen, while running from the White Men who hide in plain sight.

One day, their adventure takes a dark, unpredictable turn. Ten years later, when the boy is just entering adulthood, questions about his father's murky past can no longer remain unanswered. An unforgettable novel about the profound love between a father and son.

Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781770893061
Branch Call Number: BEN
Characteristics: 402 pages
Additional Contributors: Barslund, Charlotte


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Aug 03, 2015

I can give this book only two stars even though I acknowledge its literary value. In many ways, it's an extended piece of prose, sometimes lyrical, often whimsical and filled with angst worthy of a German romantic poet.
But the subject matter is in the end depressing. I found Bengssson's choice of structure generally annoying: an endless series of vignettes, snapshots of moments in time, seemingly irrelevant events (a few of which turn out to be of consequence, but most not).
Nor is the protagonist a particularly sympathetic person. Some readers may forgive his cavalier treatment of Petra, who loves him so selflessly but I cannot. His father's totally screwed-up state of mind and bizarre behavior was clearly a poor influence on him, but that shouldn't let him off the hook. All of us are to one degree or another both beneficiary and victim of our parents; it's up to each of us to become our own person. Peter made some poor choices. The reviews and commentaries about the book promise an exploration of "the unbreakable bond between a father and a son". While that relationship is certainly there, it falls short of expectations, even in its final denouement.

Mar 27, 2014

This book chronicles the day to day life of a boy on the run with his father. The story is interesting and there is a steady feeling of anticipation. It pulls you through page after page because you are determined to get to the point where you find the purpose. It does provide a conclusion but only through the reader's inference. I had to laugh at the end of it because I felt like the author had outsmarted me.

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