A search for faeries—and magic in general—allows former book editor Pike to reclaim a happier, more engaged life.
While working for two different publishers in New York City, a fog of disgruntlement had settled over the author. She was weary of the hustle and bustle, as well as reading piles of manuscripts, but there was also a greater malaise involved. The whole world seemed to be going to hell in a hand basket, and somewhere along the line she had lost her sense of wonder and the joy of surprise. She hungered for a little magic and a belief in something to restore the pleasurable ache of innocence and reinvigorate her daily life. So, Pike decided to go looking for faeries. One of the most appealing aspects of her book is that she does it all with ringing earnestness—even when she’s a witty smart-aleck—and without a hint of frou-frou spirituality. “I wanted to travel the world, find the people who are still awake in that old dreamtime, hear their stories,” she writes. “I was going to find the goddamned fairies.” As the author discovered, there are plenty of them out there, and numerous people for whom faeries are a fact of life to be reckoned with. Through these people, Pike re-engaged with the world in a way that was more typical of her youth. Her deceased father—a complicated, pungent soul who wends his way through the story—had been an energetic guide to the mystery and myth of the outdoors, and he effectively conveyed that to the author, despite her being a fearful kid. Pike writes of her various encounters with faery-believers and faery lands, from New York to Mexico to Ireland to Scotland, in a winning voice that roams freely from melancholy to mirth, incredulity to bright surprise.
“In chasing the beliefs I had as a child, I’d somehow managed to grow up”—into a person easily as captivating as her quarry.