Strange Horizons, 3 October 2005

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"Pip and the Fairies" by Theodora Goss

Charming is the first word that comes to mind after reading “Pip and the Fairies” by Theodora Goss.  I’m pretty sure I have mentioned that I am a fan of Goss’s work, so that I liked this one should be no surprise.

“Pip and the Fairies” begins with the funeral of Susan Lawson, the author of a series of children’s books that feature a little girl named Pip.  Pip is, in fact, Ms. Lawson’s daughter Philippa, who has grown up to star on a soap opera.  Pip must deal with her mother’s death as well as a new facet of notoriety that draws her back to her childhood.

Goss pays tribute to beloved children’s classics like The Secret Garden, The Wizard of Oz, and the books of Beatrix Potter.  We are given a glimpse into the struggles of a new writer, how bits of their life end up in their stories, and how the title of “beloved classic” is bestowed.  

The story is about the fantasy and nostalgia of childhood.  I think walking that line between reality and fantasy is one of Goss’s greatest strengths.  This story could be read completely within the realm of reality while still maintaining its delicate beauty.  The possibility of enchantment is for those of us who still look for fairies.