From Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus to Alan Garner's The Owl Service, Graham Joyce chooses his favourite books in which the Fair Folk find themselves in fresh landscapes
2. The Faery Handbag by Kelly LinkTo be found in the collection Pretty Monsters. Throw away everything you think you know about short stories and read Kelly Link: her stories get bigger each time you read them. You think you know what's in the bag, but you don't. The rhythms of Link's storytelling evoke some very old cadence patterns, but always operate in a modern idiom. I don't always know what her stories mean, but I always know that they are a delight.
3. The Stolen Child by Keith DonohueInspired by Yeats's poem about the legend of the changelings, The Stolen Child also owes a debt to JM Barrie's Peter Pan, another fairy story that was not about fairies at all but about the loss of imagination and about growing up. On the surface, a clever novel about some rather degenerate Fair Folk. But while our backs are turned the author performs a switch and delivers a luminous novel about our humanity.
The Bloody Chamber might be more obvious but some of those stories come under the re-telling category. Nights at the Circus is more anarchic and the chief protagonist is a peroxide blonde with wings called Fevvers, who was hatched from an egg laid by unknown parents. Yes, her wings are a metaphor but yes, her wings are real. Another landmark novel shunned by the Man Booker judges because it lacked, well, gravity. Many traditional fairytales are invoked and overturned throughout the novel.