A Fairy Tale was written over a period of five years and first published in The Czech Republic in the fall of 1998. Blending a variety of styles, including autobiography, philosophy and prose poetry, this novel details , in part, the world of Eastern Europe after the fall of Russian communism. As the novel opens, we see the protagonist, a fairy tale figure named Peter, living out an "Endgame" in a North American city. In addition to working in a factory, Peter also deals drugs in order to earn the money he needs "to fund a dream." This dream inevitably, after a close call with the police, brings him to Eastern Europe where he finds a thriving underground art scene in which he fully partakes. Interspersed between this basic narrative, Peter goes through dream sequences and into stories and fairy tales of his imagination. The book explores the idea that life follows a basic pattern which is reflective of the fairy tale - the movement from problem to the correction of the problem and then to the proverbial happy ending. And, furthermore, when one fairy tale is over the next one begins. Life is a fairy tale in its microcosm and macrocosm. On one level there is the movement of countries and, on the other, the life of individuals.
A Fairy Tale is a novel in four parts. The first part, called Endgame, consists of 6 stories that are told concurrently. That is to say that this part of the book is told in short sections each of which corresponds to a different narrative and each of which is clearly delineated by the spaces between them. In one story we see him moving through a strange land peopled by archetypal characters and in another, dealing drugs. This part of the book blends stream of consciousness writing with prose poetry and philosophy. The next section of the book is titled "Imagination" and is made up of four short stories that all, in their own way, explore the idea of endgames and their "happy" conclusions. The third chapter is called Kyjov and refers to a small town in The Czech Republic where the protagonist moved after leaving his native land. This part of the book is told in first person narrative and, though it looks and is in part autobiographical, deals more with ideas than specific story detail. The fourth and final part of the book is called The Next Step and its structure mirrors that of the first section - a number of stories that are told concurrently. This part looks forward to possible futures and concludes with a fairy tale written in the classic style. The novel finishes not with "The End" but rather with the words "The Beginning" and in this way the novel enters a loop.
A Fairy Tale would be of interest to those who like a challenging read. While each part and section is easily readable, the overall structure of the novel in part obfuscates the narrative. The novel works, again in part, as an allegory and it is arranged as such so that each part plays off the other. In a way each section is a reflection not only of the others but also of the whole. The same basic pattern reemerges over and over again in both the micro and macrocosm not only of the book but also in the life around us. A Fairy Tale explores this phenomenon through the colour of story and, by explicating itself in a wide variety of styles, mirrors the richness found in the worlds of both reality and imagination.