I read Steve Szilagyi's novel Photographing Fairies back in May and thought it was about time I wrote about it. I found the book at a library book sale. I think it has a pretty cool cover. Wish I could say the same for the contents of the book. Sigh.
Here's the plot:
Charles Castle is an American photographer living and working in London. He's kind of a slacker. His assistant does most of the work while Castle kind of lets things slide. One day, a Constable from a small town come to see him and shows Castle a photo of what he believes to be fairies. The Constable says that there's a couple of girls in the town who can see the fairies and can take photos of them. Obviously Castle thinks the Constable is a bit nuts but the photograph is compelling. Somehow (I don't quite remember how or why) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who is quite a spiritualist himself) believes the photo is authentic. Seeing an opportunity to make money and make a name for himself, Castle heads off to the small town to take photos of the fairies.
Interesting, right? What I like it that the story this novel is based on, the Cottingley fairies. Back in 1917, a couple of girls said they had photographic proof that fairies exist. Here's a few of the photos:
Many people, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, believed that these photos were of real fairies. It wasn't until the 1980s that the ladies came forward and said it was a hoax.
So if this book had strictly been a novel regarding the whole thing, I probably would have liked it. Instead, the book starts out with Castle in prison for murder. It starts that way! So he's looking back on the events that landed him in prison. The entire time I'm trying to figure out how a simple and touching story of a man trying to photograph fairies turns into a murder mystery. Who did he kill? Why? On top of that, I really didn't care for Castle at all. The ending was muddled, crammed, and I plain just didn't like it.
Anyway, there's my review.
Here's an alternate cover:
On a different note, there IS a movie based on this book that I wanted to see staring Toby Stephens as Castle. It's appealing because I really enjoy Toby Stephens as Gatsby, Mr Rochester, and Duke Orsino among others.
Here's the movie poster (a bit too trippy for me):
And just because, Toby Stephens. Check out his actors spotlight over at Lights, Camera...History!
**Has anyone else read this book or seen the movie? Thoughts?