A realistic and beautifully written exploration of what might happen if the tale of Rip Van Winkle (or any of the older stories of people being taken ‘Under the Hill’) happened in modern-day England.
Twenty years ago, 16-yr-old Tara disappeared after a fight with her boyfriend. Although the boyfriend was a suspect, nothing was ever proven, and her family was left to mourn and to come to terms with Tara’s presumed death.
Now, Tara has shown up on her parents’ doorstep. At first, she gives a sketchy story about having traveled the world for the last 20 years, but soon she tells her brother, Peter, a story of having gone with a handsome man on a white horse, to a Fairyland that resembled a free-love commune, with magic.
Naturally, Peter convinces her to see a shrink.
While the book is well done, I personally felt that there was too much psychological analysis and not enough action. I wanted to feel more magic and less mundane, domestic detail. I understand why Joyce made the decisions he did here, I just didn’t end up loving the result – although I did like the book.
The end was well done, with a sense of the inevitable that fits both the spirit of the folklore and the situation set up in the novel.