My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are classes of spiritual beings according to the races of the supernatural world that humans have arbitrarily defined with ostentatious pedanticism. For we treat the otherworldly guests of honors, such as archangels, angels, principalities, vampires, werewolves, trolls, big-foots, and even extraterrestrial aliens with awe-inspiring reverence, whereas fairies are regarded as sort of the underclass, juvenile guests reluctantly invited to a terrific festival of supernatural beliefs. Such spectral discrimination, argues author Richard Sugg in his Fairies: A Dangerous History, results from the fact that unlike demons, angels, and other ethereal beings of educated Christianity, fairies are in want of respectful scholarship codifying their existence and nature, cultural influence on arts and literature, and spiritual elements of faith/belief traditions in lettered authority.
The book is a meta treatise on why the author himself believes in the existence of the belittled mystical beings deserving of their recognized appellation in the echelon of the spiritual realm with an impressively wide scope of dazzling knowledge ranging from religion to literature and deeply sympathetic understanding of the cultural heritage of the belief tradition wonderfully kept alive in Celtic local oral tradition to this day. Sugg takes us to the remotest area in Shetland to listen to a nonagenarian man whose vivid memories about fairy sights he saw and heard are amusing, to places surrounded by fairy fences on the Isles of Britain where the local folk will tell you where you can see the Good Folk and what to do when you see them, and to the fantastic feasts of fairies as seen and described by William Shakespeare and Edmund Spencer as the rulers of the Vegetable Kingdom in their Elysium of poetic fancy, which is also based on the popular hearsay that became a local folk religion alongside the established Christianity. Sugg keeps us hooked on pages after pages filled with his magic spells of words in an expanse of determination and willingness to let us see what he sees and believes in fairies with their own dangerous history; dangerous because the truth about them is theologically reasonable, spiritually potent, culturally dominant, and physically palpable.
In sum, this book is one fascinating account of fairies that serves the author’s purpose of educating and entertaining readers, both initiated and uninitiated, captivated by the glamour spells of the erudition of the author who uses words as sprinkles falling from his literary magic wands to allure readers to a riveting trance of the Fairy Realm as if the author himself were a chief courtier of Titania and Oberon in an ambition to restore its elusive kingdom to respectful glory of the Separate Race. The result is an enchantingly potent narrative of the mystical sprites told by a spellbound narrator who seems to easily traverse time and space with diaphanous gossamer wings. So much so that I wonder if this book is written by the help of a supernatural being, with the image of Dr. Faust springing from the reservoir of thoughts, in a quid pro quo return for the effectual propitiation of the supernatural knowledge. Nonetheless, this book is something of the authorial account of the Fairy Folk.