Yesterday morning I woke up, looked out of my window to see thick fog and a miserable drizzling rain, then crawled back under my blanket and started reading. I can’t remember the last time I felt so lazy! But it was worth it, because I finished a lovely book which I am going to share with you now: Faery Tale by Signe Pike.
I don’t read much non-fiction, but as soon as I read the synopsis of this I knew that I simply had to give it a go. Which is exactly what I did, and I loved it! It is a fantastic adventure story that flows just like a novel, made all the better by knowing that it’s all true!
Signe Pike left her career in Manhattan to travel in search of something few people give credit to the existence of these days: faeries. Throughout Mexico, England, Ireland and Scotland, Pike explores ancient forts and isolated forests, hikes through majestic glens and up hills and mountains in the hope of finding a little magic and restoring our link to the natural and spiritual worlds.
Now, clearly the more open-minded you are the more you will get out of this book. Entering it skeptical is fine, but be prepared to compromise your way of thinking as you go on. If you’re bent on dismissing or taunting Pike’s journey straight off then what’s the point of picking this up in the first place? This heartfelt memoir doesn’t deserve such brusque treatment. I’m pretty game for believing in anything and have a few brushes with the paranormal myself, so I was able to accept Pike’s encounters and understand where she was coming from.
I found Pike’s smooth, practical narrative voice effortless to read. Her descriptions are not drowning in imagery but they’re enchanting all the same, with the most important details all captured. I had no difficulty following her trains of thought or picturing where she was; the whole book just flows beautifully. From the start Pike is honest. She doesn’t know what she’s going to find or how she feels about faeries herself, and she clearly states her fears for the journey. She’s not claiming to be psychic or confident or making any bold, informed decisions. She’s just an ordinary woman going traveling, which makes her easy to trust and empathise with. As for the story, being interested in folklore myself, I found her research fascinating. The tales about different kinds of faeries in each place she visited were great – especially the UK ones. It opened my eyes to how much of our heritage I am ignorant about.
Pike’s story contains a lot of morals and little bits of wisdom which really get you thinking. She raises the issue of how modern life has lost caused us to lose our connection with nature and made it harder to appreciate the simply beauty of the world around us. Many people are incapable of believing (or even considering) that so called ‘mythical’ creatures might exist. Maybe if we could all dust off our repressed imagination and take a step back from daily life then we could learn to understand the bigger picture a bit more. I find it sad that there are very few who have the courage to embrace the more whimsical side of life and listen to their intuition; what does that say about us as a race? Nothing good, that’s for sure.
Faery Tale has inspired me to be more true to myself, and not be afraid to stand out and look for what I really want out of life. And that’s a lot of hefty things to get out of a single book! It’s also given me lots of places to add to my never-ending list of places to visit…
You can find out more about Signe Pike and Faery Tale on her website and blog:
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Amelia Starling is a writer and folklorist. She graduated from the University of Winchester with a degree in Creative Writing, and is Senior Editor for Folklore Thursday
. She loves travelling and collecting stories, and spent 15 months living in Japan doing this alongside teaching English. Currently she is studying for a masters degree in Ethnology & Folklore at the University of Aberdeen. Amelia blogs about folklore and fairy tales at The Willow Web
. You can follow her on Twitter @amyelize