Boekverslag : Alice Thomas Ellis - Fairy Tale
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Fairy Tale


Alice Thomas Ellis

Viking, 1996

Eloise: bored and wants someone to appreciate the value of her work and she wants a baby. She makes night-dresses and petticoats for a shop in town. She considers men to be brainless and only good for one thing. Simon and she moved into the woods because she got a lot of money from Max (Clare's ex-husband). She moved into the woods to discover her spiritual roots. She likes neatness and having everything in order.

Simon: Eloise's husband. Before they went into the depths of Wales (the woods) he was an ordinary, nice boy with a promising career, now he does woodwork. Rational.

Eloise & Simon: not compatible.

Clare: Eloise's mom. Jewish.

Miriam: Clare's oldest friend. Vodka drinker.

Moonbird: Spiritual (crystals, pyramids, hagging trees), New Age friend. Humans should be polite towards Nature. She's fond of Native Americans.

Four men in suits come to the house, saying they want to buy it. Simon doesn't want a baby (Simon's mom got a child at the age of 13, which he considered to be in the way of his development into manhood). He tells her that if she feels that lonely she should ask her mom over. Simon calls Clare saying Eloise missing her. Se never showed much affection so Clare wonders what the catch is. Clare can't go because she is expecting a phone call from Claud (a French tv producer). The men return for a second time leaving her brochures. Clare encourages Miriam to go because she is Eloise's godmother. Third return of the men. Moonbird and the men say the same things, but the meaning behind them is different. Eloise wakes up, the men are gone, the clock has stopped and the cat is afraid. Simon comes home. Clare is depressed, Miriam asks if she is suicidal again. Clare found out Claud was having dinner with another woman. She called him the next morning, and he didn't even know who she was. The next morning cloth. Miriam goes to Eloise. The next day Clare goes as well. Eloise comes back from the woods where she had fallen asleep. While it has been raining hard all day Eloise is completely dry, this surprises Miriam. Miriam is surprised that no one in the village has talked to them. Miriam and Clare go out for groceries and the shopkeeper shows great interest in them when he finds out they live in the Queen's house. Miriam interrogates the gatekeeper. He tells her to be careful where she walks. There is a category A sex offender around. The cat is gone, they go out to look for it. Clare is fighting with everyone, she goes out for a walk. The cat has been in the parlour all the time. Return of the men: silently and they have no shadow. The men leave a basket filled with mushrooms. Miriam throws them away. Miriam looks for the brochures Eloise claims the men left her, they aren't there. Clare is walking through the woods wishing out loud she was dead. The sex offender hears her. The watches sacrifice male flesh (the sex offender). Eloise comes in with a baby, they wonder if she was pregnant without showing it and take her to a doctor. She can breastfeed, meaning she must have been pregnant. The doctor was already on his way when Simon was getting him. 'Someone' told him that they live on the border with Wales. The baby has a pale face, green eyes, silvery hair (all human babies have blue eyes on birth). They consider the nurse to be inhuman. Clare suggests going back to the city, Eloise doesn't want that. Eloise notices nothing but the baby, she doesn't even respond to questions about Moonbird. Clare and Miriam go for a walk, they smell something dead while walking and they find a half devoured man. The cat is afraid of the baby: it look likes it knows too much. They are suspicious about the social workers, they are also dry while it's raining. The baby cries for the first time. The police calls, warns them about the sex offender; lock doors and windows at night. Clare tries to justify Eloise's odd behaviour by thinking the raper attacked her. They go to a bar at night. Eloise asks for a steak (she is a vegetarian). Miriam asks the gamekeeper about the previous inhabitants of the house. When they go home Eloise asks for meat again. There's a pile of feathers in Clare's room, while the door was locked. Miriam and Clare have a chat about men, Clare wants to marry a rich man. Eloise acts weird. Miriam waits for the gamekeeper for more information. Miriam asks Clare if she believes in ghosts. The men in the house always died. Miriam says the house is haunted. Next morning a cuckoo is calling: it is not the time of the year for cuckoos. Miriam is slowly going mad, she is afraid she'll lose her self control. The baby keeps on crying. Eloise looks even more ethereal than before eating meat. Miriam suggests they should all go out and that she will watch the baby. When they finally go out Miriam is alone with the baby. The baby sits up and starts talking and drinking vodka. Miriam is not surprised (she knew what was going on, unconsciously). Tylwyth Tey arrive (the men), they want the baby back, Eloise shouldn't have taken it. The other women in the house had tried it as well. They made the women throw the baby down the waterfall. They give her a drink to give to the women. They say Simon won't notice what has happened. The baby is a changeling. Miriam suffers from an alcoholic depression. Miriam announces a picnic. She pours Clare and Eloise a fairy vodka. Clare pours Miriam one too, without Miriam knowing it. They see things they cannot see. The baby leaps down in the water from Eloise's arms. They wake up without any recollection of what has happened. Eloise sees a lamb caught in the rushes downstream. Simon hears noises, goes downstairs, falls, sees the men, passes out, wakes up men gone. Eloise runs away. Clare goes after her to look for her. They meet the gamekeeper. Eloise remembers the baby because she has some Tylwyth Tey in her. He knocks Eloise down with a stone and puts some fairy dust on Clare's hair. They used to let the women go mad, but that wasn't possible anymore. Miriam goes searching for Eloise and Clare and she meets the shepherd. The shepherd thinks that if Eloise remembers, they all do - they are unaware of the concepts of the individual. They use the women to breed. The shepherd leaves howling. Eloise and Clare are lying in the garden when the kitchen roof falls off. Clare thinks it's time to go home. Eloise wants to say no at first but she realises she is sick of 'the simple life'. Miriam sees the cradle in the room and almost remembers everything. Eloise says the cradle is for when they'll have a baby. Eloise doesn't object to leaving because she has already left in spirit. The cat is found, it had a little kitten, green eyes… Eloise says in the car "We forgot something"… her unconsciousness: the baby.
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