A Fairy Tale

A Fairy Tale 2

by Jonas T. Bengtsson

Paperback Publication Date: 29/01/2014

4/5 Rating 2 Reviews
RRP  $29.99 $25.25
March, 1986- the 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 itinerant life 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 son. At night, he weaves a fairy tale about a prince and a king on a secret mission. But one day, their adventure takes a dark, unpredictable turn. Ten years later, as the boy enters adulthood, he tries to conform to the demands of ordinary life. Yet he is haunted by his childhood - and questions about his father's murky past can no longer remain unanswered. A Fairy Tale is a coming-of-age novel like no other. Powerful, sensitive, and utterly mesmerising, it reveals the indelible legacy that our parents leave to us. 'A profound novel about the unbreakable bond between a father and son.' Lawrence Hill, author of Someone Knows My Name 'A knockout of a story about ties of kinship that keeps the reader in a crushing grip. Excellent.' Ekstra Bladet
Contemporary fiction
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Scribe Publications
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Customer Reviews

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  • Family Tales.

    by on

    A Fairy Tale by Jonas T. Bengtsson is a novel about madness, relationships, loneliness, self-expression and self-discovery.

    All done with a very subtle writing touch, which left me thinking about the characters long after I had finished the book.

  • A coming-of-age story like no other

    by on

    Told in two parts from an unnamed boy's perspective, A Fairy Tale commences when the boy is six, and Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme has just been assassinated. We are taken into his insular world where his father and he live on the outskirts of society. Theirs is an itinerant existence, with his eccentric father taking on any odd job he can find. His father is his anchor, protector, and only certainty, and the memories he has he has of his mother are vague. At night his father spins him a fairy tale about a king and a prince, who while looking for the White Queen so as to destroy her must remain aware of the danger posed by the White Men, who hide in plain sight and who are out to get them. The tale would appear to be a way of teaching the boy the dangers of the world from the viewpoint of his father.

    As the boy grows older, he (and we reading it) becomes aware of the oddity of some of his father's actions. The boy starts to crave a more normal life, with friends, and school, and for a time it looks as though this may come to pass, until an unpredictable event changes everything.

    The second part stars some years after the first, with the boy now a teenager on the brink of adulthood. He is struggling to come to terms with his life as it has unfolded and to make sense of his father's past. It is up to the reader to piece the puzzle together as to what the reality is. One thing the reader would never doubt is the love that the father has for the boy.

    This is a beautiful novel about the bond between a father and son, with short chapters and an engaging mystery that pull you in, almost addictively, and that many should enjoy. While this is Jonas T. Bengtsson's third book, it is the first that has been translated into English. I really hope more are to come.