The Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy

by Graham Joyce

Paperback(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312868338
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 12/28/1998
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.36(h) x 0.86(d)

Read an Excerpt

ONE

Pike

Clive was on the far side of the green pond, torturing a king-crested newt. Sam and Terry languished under a vast oak, offering their chubby white feet to the dark water. The sprawling oak leaned out across the mirroring pond, dappling the water's surface with clear reflections of leaf and branch and of acorns ripening slowly in verdant cups.

It was high summer. Pigeons cooed softly in the trees, and Clive's family picnicked nearby. Two older boys fished for perch about thirty yards away. Sam saw the pike briefly. At first he thought he was looking at a submerged log. It hung inches below the surface, utterly still, like something suspended in ice. Green and gold, it was a phantom, a spirit from another world. Sam tried to utter a warning, but the apparition of the pike had him mesmerized. It flashed at the surface of the water as it came up to take away, in a single bite, the two smallest toes of Terry's left foot.

The thing was gone before Terry understood what had happened. He withdrew his foot slowly from the water. Two tiny crimson beads glistened where his toes had been. One of the beads plumped and dripped into the water. Terry turned to Sam with a puzzled smile, as if some joke was being played. As the wound began to sting, his smile vanished and he began to scream.

Clive's mother and father, in charge that afternoon, were lying on the grass, he with his head in her lap. Sam ran to them. Clive's father lifted his head to see what the commotion was all about.

"Terry's been bitten by a green fish," said Sam.

Clive's father scrambled to his feet and raced along the bank. Terry was still screaming, holding his foot. Mr. Rogers kneeled to part Terry's hands, and the color drained from his face. Instinctively he put Terry's tiny foot to his mouth and sucked at the wound.

Clive's mother quickly joined her husband at the scene. The two boys who'd been fishing laid down their rods and wandered over to take a look. "What happened? Did he fall in?"

Clive was still on the other side of the pond. Sam called him over. Mr. Rogers, hands trembling, fumbled for a handkerchief. He tied it around the bleeding foot, lifted Terry in his arms and jogged back toward the housing estate.

Clive arrived, breathless. "What is it?"

"Come on," his mother said sharply, as if Clive were somehow to blame. She gathered up her picnic blanket and marched the boys from the field. The two older boys were still asking what had happened, but she was tight-lipped.

Sam followed behind her, understanding that Terry was only five and life had taken away two of his toes, presumably forever. He hoped for better luck for himself.

• • •

Clive's father jogged the half mile to Terry's caravan. There Terry lived with his mother and father and with his twin brothers, who were not yet nine months old. The Morrises inhabited a rust-bucket Bluebird caravan in an untidy garden behind a cottage. They paid a small ground-rent to the owner of the cottage, an old man who never came out of his house. Sam lived in one of a row of semidetached houses running up to the cottage, seven street numbers away from Terry.

The caravan rested on a pile of red housebricks where the wheels should have been. It butted up against a hedge, as far from the cottage as possible. Holes made by various animals and marauding children punctured the hedge, behind which sprawled a scrubby piece of waste ground. Whatever status Mr. Morris had dropped by living in a caravan he reclaimed by owning a sports car. Sam's father certainly couldn't afford a car in those days, and neither could Clive's old man. It seemed to the boys something of an injustice that both Clive's and Sam's fathers worked in a car factory and didn't possess a car, yet Terry's father, whose work was a mystery to everyone, was the proud owner of a spoke-wheeled, soft-top MG glinting in the yard alongside the rusting caravan.

That Sunday afternoon, Eric Rogers carried the still blubbering Terry down from the pond and snatched open the caravan door to find the Morrises engaged in a private act. The twins slumbered in their cot. Mr. Morris swore as Mr. Rogers backed out with his whimpering bundle, yelling that they should come and take care of their son. Chris Morris emerged wild-eyed, struggling with the zip of his trousers. Moments later he'd bundled Terry into the back of the MG and was revving the engine. Mrs. Morris, coitally crimson, stepped out of the caravan in a faded silk dressing gown, her mahogany curls spilling everywhere, insisting she go with them. Then she remembered the twins snoozing in the cot. Mr. and Mrs. Morris started screaming at each other before Mr. Morris sped off to the City General Hospital.

But what could be done? At the casualty ward they dressed Terry's tiny foot and gave him an antitetanus jab. They stroked his golden hair and told him to be a brave soldier. They had no spare toes to offer.

"A pike?" the doctor repeated in disbelief. "A pike, you say?"

Nev Southall, Sam's father, saw the green MG return from the hospital. Having heard the story from Sam, he dithered for fifteen minutes before going round to see how things were with the boy. He found Chris Morris in a state of high agitation, lashing a Stanley knife to a broom handle.

"How's the kid, Chris?"

"Sleeping."

"What are you doing?"

"I'm going up the road and I'm going to get that pike."

Nev looked at the Stanley knife and the pole and at the net Morris had spread out on the floor, and his heart sank. If there was something he knew a thing or two about, it was catching fish. "Not with that thing you won't."

"It's all I've got." Chris slung the pole and the net in the back of his car.

Nev knew it was a hopeless waste of time, that pike number among the most difficult of fish to catch, even with good tackle. But he couldn't let Chris go back up to the pond alone. "Wait. I've got some gear. Let's try to do it properly."

Nev picked up a couple of rods and reels, a good-sized landing net and his basket of equipment. With Sam in the back of the sports car they roared up the lane to the pond. It was already after five o'clock in the afternoon. The sun had become a pallid yellow disc floating low in the sky, flooding the pond with diffuse light. Sam showed them where the incident had happened.

"You could fish this for years and not get him," Nev said, setting up the rods. Chris Morris wasn't listening. He was staring into the dark waters, landing net poised, as if he thought the pike might oblige by leaping into it.

Sam noticed that his father did all the talking and Terry's father said nothing. He just kept staring into the gloomy pond water. Dusk came. Nev felt he'd made his gesture. He'd had enough of this nonsense.

"Another day, Chris," he said. "Another day."

"You go on home," said Terry's father. "Just leave me the net. I'll drop it back to you."

"You sure?"

"I'm sure."

So Nev and Sam left Chris Morris prowling the darkening bank of the pond and made their way down the lane on foot.

"Will he catch the pike?" Sam said, well after they were out of earshot.

"Not a chance in hell," said his father.

Copyright © 1996 by Graham Joyce

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The Tooth Fairy 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Tooth Fairy was one book I could read over and over again and not put down once. If you have trouble finding a book to keep your interests I promise you this IS the one. Three boys lifes are changed forever when an eroticly psychotic tooth fairy appears one evening to retrieve a tooth from one of the boys. That is just the beginning of when the satisfactional terror and pleasure begin. The books climax never deminishes yet instead holds strong the entire time. I garauntee you'll be strangley tangled within the pages and facinated by the fantasy this book holds.
sshannon on LibraryThing 6 months ago
magical and haunting
roses7184 on LibraryThing 6 months ago
It's hard to put into words exactly how I feel about this book. After pondering for quite some time, I decided to give it 3 stars. On the one hand, I thought it was really well written. The characters are very easy to relate to, and their individual personalities make them interesting to read about. Sam is the awkward one, Clive the smart one, Terry the athletic one. Just like the groups of boys we all knew in school. Following the boys through their youth was sad at times, but they always bounced back like kids do. I never really felt fully immersed in the book though. It might be because the story centers mainly around the lives of male characters, but I'm not sure that was the only reason. The whole issue of the "Tooth Fairy" was odd and confusing at times. I found myself wanting to slap some sense into Sam. I know that this book is meant to be like the cautionary tales of old. At the deepest level, this is a book about growing into adulthood and all the trials and tribulations that come along with it. I would say give it a try and see what you think!
m4marya on LibraryThing 6 months ago
Joyce has a way of sticking with you, and telling a tale in a way that you never thought of before. The Tooth Fairy is no exception, and as a child who was always a bit distrustful of the fairy that was supposed to leave money in exchange for taking away my teeth his story truly resonated. The pain and angst of growing up, mixed in with the oddity of a very scary tooth fairy capture you. When reading you find yourself thinking of all those creatures that you used to believe in and asking--what if?Joyce brings fantasy to reality, making both magical and possible. I started out reading Dark Sister, and then read this book, since then I have read more, and am happy that there are books of Joyce's that I have not read. I dread the day when I am caught up and will have to wait until the next one is out, I will just have to reread them all then!
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing 6 months ago
It's a story of growing up and the demons that you acquire through the difficult times of learning to be an adult and losing your childhood innocence. The book was captivating, the characters made sense, and the love triangle between the three best friends and Alice was very much the same sort of games we played in high school. It's a well written book of the sort that could easily fit in the fiction aisle, or fantasy.
schwarzz on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I read this book when I was in high school and enjoyed it, but now I'm getting everything. A poignant and eerie bildungsroman that could have tread tired old ground but instead remains fresh and interesting.
clothingoptional on LibraryThing 9 months ago
Creepy and sexy. If you liked this as much as I did, you are probably whacked in the head. ;)
HLSincliar More than 1 year ago
I was at work in the local grociery store putting donated books out in our book bin when I came across The Tooth Fairy. I'm an English major and I hate finding brand new books going into the book bin so I bought it. I am so happy I did so. The book was unlike any that I had ever read. It was scary, exciting, happy, and confusing all at the same time. I couldn't put it down, I read it cover to cover in just a matter of days. I took it with me on a road trip, read it before bed, and before I had to go to work. I would recomend it to anyone that likes fantasy and getting lost in a book.
saraenriquez12 More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely enthralling. I have read many books, and this one will forever stick out in my mind. I read it in basically one day, and when I was finished I felt as if I had woken from a dream to early, the book left me wanting more. The writing played a large part in that as well, Graham Joyce is an amazing writer.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
That's all I have to say. Oh, and this is an amazing book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of those indecisive reads. Yes, I enjoyed it, but I found it riddle with poor writing. Not that the actual style, and writing agiality was bad - more less the pasting, and lack of the extrodinary -not even a touch here and there - made for the book's downfall. The writer took me on detours, out in the left-field, only to receeded, shrinking back to the security of a qustionable plot to begin with. It was as if the writer was unclear, afraid of what might happen, of how many added pages he might need to throw on if prusuing these possiable story branch-offs. Perhapes this could be seen as the writer breathing so much life into the book that he compermises the actual nuclous of the story. However I must confess, the quantity of life pools into a difinite mood, one which is strong. I only whish I was aware of what this mood was about in this abstract story that never seemed to really go anyehere.