Winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction
One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists
From the prizewinning young writer of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, Gingerbread, and Peaces comes a brilliant and inventive story of love, lies, and inspiration.
Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don't get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can't stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It's not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.
Mary challenges Mr. Fox to join her in stories of their own devising; and in different times and places, the two of them seek each other, find each other, thwart each other, and try to stay together, even when the roles they inhabit seem to forbid it. Their adventures twist the fairy tale into nine variations, exploding and teasing conventions of genre and romance, and each iteration explores the fears that come with accepting a lifelong bond. Meanwhile, Daphne becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, and finds her way into Mary and Mr. Fox's game. And so Mr. Fox is offered a choice: Will it be a life with the girl of his dreams, or a life with an all-too-real woman who delights him more than he cares to admit?
The extraordinarily gifted Helen Oyeyemi has written a love story like no other. Mr. Fox is a magical book, endlessly inventive, as witty and charming as it is profound in its truths about how we learn to be with one another.
Set primarily in 1930s New York, Oyeyemi's latest novel follows the adventures of a famous novelist, Mr. Fox, with a penchant for murdering his heroines. His life and work are transformed by the discovery of his muse, Mary. But when Mr. Fox's wife, Daphne, becomes convinced her husband is having an affair, the novelist finds himself forced to make a very difficult decision. Carole Boyd's narration is playful, well paced, and utterly enjoyable. She captures the spirit of the fantastical prose and creates restrained but effective voices employing several pitch-perfect accents and dialects for Oyeyemi's characters. One of the many highlights is Boyd's rendition of the rich American teenager to whom she lends a wonderfully flat, bored tone. A Riverhead hardcover.
This book is so brilliant it hurts. I've spent the last few months trying to wean myself from 'just the classics' by exploring 21st century writers, and this single book has made all the effort worth it.
Delightfully written and with a great sense of humor, the stories told blend together through shared details and themes to create the sense of being in a series of recurring dreams that straddle the lines between fairy tale/nightmare, childhood/adulthood, absurdity/madness, and all come together to tell the overarching tale of two Foxes and a Foxe.
Anyone who still has some imagination left in them should find this to be a charming classic.