One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2010
A skeptic's search for magic, one faery at a time.
In search of something to believe in again, Signe Pike left behind a career in Manhattan to undertake a magical journey-literally. In a sweeping tour through England, Ireland, Scotland, and beyond, she takes readers to dark glens and abandoned forests, ancient sacred sites, and local pubs, seeking those who might still believe in the mysterious beings we've relegated to the dusty corners of our childhood imaginations: faeries. But as Signe attempts to connect with the spirit world, she'll come to view herself and the world around her in a profoundly new way.
Engaging and full of heart, Faery Tale is more than a memoir-it's the story of rekindling that spark of belief that makes even the most skeptical among us feel like a kid again.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Signe Pike is an editor and writer living in Charleston, South Carolina.
Read an Excerpt
I wake up every morning with a sense of purpose: I am a tastemaker. As a book editor in New York City, I think about it constantly: What do people want to read? What will they want to read in one year? What about two? Mostly I acquire books that entertain women, that engulf them. When I think about the reader, I think about you. I buy books that I hope will make you smile, make you believe in the magic of love at first sight—I buy books that I hope will heal your heartbreak. I read all the time, big, thick manuscripts. It’s part of the job. Each night I take home chunks of pages in an extra shoulder bag. I read on the treadmill. I read while I’m eating my take-out dinner. I read before bed, propped up with a pillow, my glasses slipping down toward the tip of my nose. I’m beginning to wonder if carrying all the paper is the reason my right shoulder feels like it’s filled with marbles.
In the morning I get up and I flip on the radio. NPR and a cup of coffee. I’m always running late—I can never figure out what to wear.
I’m almost twenty-eight years old and I’m always trying to look older. I hate blazers and button-up shirts. I hate walking the streets of New York in high heels; the men gawk and the concrete wears them down until the metal pokes out the bottom. I lock the door and say goodbye to the cat, hoping for her that today, there will be pigeons.
I read on the subway, pressed up against a big man whose breath smells like rotten eggs and stale coffee. Next to me is a fat, middle-aged stockbroker, staring over the top of his Wall Street Journal at the gap between the taught fabric of a blond woman’s skirt. He has a slim gold wedding band on, and I wonder if the woman who gave it to him believed in love at first sight.
The train shoots underground and the faces around me look ashen in the yellow lights. I close my eyes for a moment, and everything, the lights, the people, the rapidly receding subway walls, slips away and I am rushing out into the bright sunshine. I walk up a long dune that leads to the beach, where I can hear the sound of the ocean. It sounds like a sigh. I open my eyes to see people looking back.
Has she fallen asleep?
I focus again on the pages in front of me. I tell myself, All I want is to heal some heartbreak. Upstairs in the glass-walled building, I flick on the desk lamp in my third-floor interior office. Without windows, the fluorescent lights give me a raucous headache, and I’m not usually a headache kind of girl. Glancing at my calendar, my eyes find the familiar photo pinned near the top of my bulletin board.
Have you ever looked at a photo so much that you can’t even truly see it anymore? I examine it again, trying to break it down into pieces. I see a man who looks far older than his sixty years, walking down a winding set of stone stairs. At his feet, a small brown-and-white dog is captured mid-movement, and he has turned to face the camera above him, his eyes gazing back at mine. The expression he wears is one of faux surprise: he hardly ever plays it straight for the camera. I know this, because neither do I. In a moment he’ll call out, Hey, you coming?
I see a flash of fabric breeze past my office door.
“Good morning, Signe,” my boss says.
“Good morning to you,” I say brightly. I flick on my computer and glance at the persistent blinking light on my phone.
You have five new messages.
I reach for the phone with one hand and my coffee with the other. Lately, I think, my face hurts from smiling.
“Hi, this is Signe Pike, returning a call . . .”
I am going to heal your heartbreak, because I have no idea how to heal my own.
Excerpted from "Faery Tale"
Copyright © 2011 Signe Pike.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
"It's hard to decide what's more enchanting, Signe Pike's writing or the magical world she uncovers. This is a book for hopeful skeptics and believers alike. Proceed with caution, because Faery Tale may cast a spell that transforms the way you see the world forever."
"Finding happiness is an adventure that everyone should take, and Faery Tale inspires you to go on that journey."
- Lucy Danziger, Editor-in-Chief of SELF Magazine and author of New York Times bestseller of The Nine Rooms of Happiness
Pike's enchanting journey into the land of the faeries is more than a memoir; it's an earnest search for what is real in a world that is filled with illusion, and what is true in a world that is filled with falsehood. It makes you smile, and it makes you think....
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a beautiful book about not only a search for magic but a journey to reconcile the author with her difficult father and his death. Very powerful.
I loved this book. Signe Pike is feeling disconnected from the world, and still deeply grieving the death of her father. She decides to take a three month trip to England, Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man to find out if faeries really do exist. Starting out with wanting to believe, but feeling skeptical and blocked by fear, she connects with people along her journey who, with the guidance of faeries, help her slowly begin to experience the joy and magic of believing, and trusting her intuition to guide her where she needs to be. If you're feeling a bit lost, and out of touch with nature, read this book. If you remember, as a child, being fascinated with faeries and the magical realm, rediscover that fascination. I myself feel lighter and happier after reading this book. I can't wait to revisit my flower gardens next spring; if I'm lucky enough, maybe I'll experience some magic!
This was an impulse purchase at the Borders closing sale, and I ended up enjoying it surprisingly much. The premise was obviously interesting enough to make me pick it up initially: the author wants to recapture a childhood sense of enchantment, and so decides to seek out places in the world where people still believe in fairies. It may seem obvious where this is going, but I was actually a bit surprised and disappointed when the author moved quickly into an exploration of "are fairies real?". Her exploration of the issue is also extremely haphazard, and basically involves travelling around at random to wherever people happen to advise and doing minimal research beforehand. And yet somehow I still quite enjoyed the book. It's a personal memoir rather than a scholarly study, and I found Signe very engaging. In addition to her travels, there's a significant focus on her attempts to come to terms with the death of her father, whose frequent fits of rage had given her a miserable childhood. Despite my skepticism about the entire premise, I found myself drawn in by the story and came away satisfied with the reading experience.
A New York book editor.The Faery Realm.Two terms that, on the surface, have nothing in common and would seem to have conflicting world views. But not so fast....Signe Pike writes a memoir of the journey that melds these two very different worlds. Prompted by the death of her father, Signe is led into a world of enchantment that she had been taught does not exist. Intellectualism and rationalization are slowly chipped away as she is presented with experiences that go beyond mere coincidence and brings her to a synchronicity that she cannot ignore. While this journey is at times frightening and uncomfortable, she eventually reaches a state of peace when she realizes that she is not alone and that her pain is a threshold to something greater. Believe or not as you may, the magic of her unfolding is a story not to be missed. Excellent book, wonderful writing - highly recommended and a personal favorite.
Let me just say that I am in love with this book. I recommend it to travelers, memoir readers, and for anyone who has felt the inevitable disconnection from childhood fairy tales that the hustle and bustle of adult life causes. Signe Pike, a young editor working for two publishing companies in New York City, decides that mundane, day-to-day, corporate lifestyle is not working for her, and that she needs more. Mourning the loss of her father, she doesn't realize for sometime how heavy a burden is on her shoulders....so she does something about it. She Travels to Mexico, England, The Isle of Man, and Scotland and gets in touch with not only her love of nature instilled by her father, but also her adventurous childhood self. In her search for fairies, she reclaims a bit of magic she lost and a stronger sense of self.