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THE TOOTH FAIRY by Graham Joyce


by Graham Joyce

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-86261-X
Publisher: Tor

 From the author of Requiem (1996): a story about a boy growing up in England in the 1960s--with one singular difference: He's haunted by a demonic Tooth Fairy that only he can see, but whose effects spill over into his family and friends. When seven-year-old Sam Southall of Redstone, near Coventry, loses a tooth, he's visited that night by a sinister, rank- smelling, foul-mouthed, mercurial Tooth Fairy; the Tooth Fairy, in turn, is astonished that Sam can see him. During his unpredictable visits, he quickly teaches Sam to make mischief at school, then insists that Sam have his friend Terry sleep over. That same night, Terry's father shoots his wife, his other children, and himself. Prompted by the Tooth Fairy's sexual teasing, Sam learns to masturbate and discovers girls--especially Alice, of the local horse-riding club. Soon, because Alice vandalized the club's hut and blamed the deed on Terry and their friend Clive, the boys are forced to join the Scouts to prove their innocence. During a Scouts night, a scary game gets out of hand: Sam kills a bully as he prepares to rape Clive, and in a panic the boys conceal the Dead Scout and swear to say nothing. Despite the Tooth Fairy's taunts, the Dead Scout's disappearance passes unremarked. Then the Tooth Fairy, now female and thoroughly enticing, threatens to expose Sam unless he demands a telescope for Christmas. He gets her wish, and both he and she are fascinated by the stars. Finally, the Dead Scout shows up--alive and well--and the friends become hysterical with relief. At the close, Alice pairs off with Terry; Sam realizes that his own need calls up the Tooth Fairy; he and she make love, symbolically shedding their skins, although Sam, preparing to go to college to study astrophysics, recognizes that he must let her go. Sharp, freshly imagined, and evocative work, by turns wrenching, funny, and disquieting.