Honestly, this is hardly going to be a review. Mr. Fox confused the hell out of me. I had never read Helen Oyeyemi before, but this came in the most recent Book Riot Quarterly box and she seemed well-liked, so I was excited to read it. The premise is that there’s this guy, Mr. Fox, and he keeps killing off the heroines in his novels. His muse, fictional Mary Foxe, comes to life and tries to kind of teach him a lesson. His wife, Daphne, thinks he’s having an affair. And ummmm it becomes a weird love triangle thing? And there are multiple short stories/chapters in which Mr. Fox and Mary Foxe seem to be different characters.
I don’t want to be unfair – I think I’m just glaringly not “getting” something. I was confused through most of the novel, and I think I mostly skimmed the last 30-50 pages because I was just ready to be done. HOWEVER. There was some beautiful writing happening here. I mainly decided to do this review just so that I could single out some of my favorite highlighted lines –
“It was interesting to know that I’d married someone who could cause this much destruction on a hunch. It made me like her more.”
“Miss Foxe liked to be near the flowers, especially in winter, when it was easy to forget that there had ever been such a thing as a flower.”
“And now that he’s gone she’d rather not talk to anyone else. Solitary people, these book lovers.”
“The words didn’t come easily. She put large spaces between some of them for fear they would attack one another.”
“There were days when he touched the tip of her nose and it was enough, a miracle of plenty.”
See? How wonderful are these?? Helen Oyeyemi is clearly a skilled writer, and I enjoyed the short stories in the book on their own… they just confused me as part of the major storyline. I’m going to try more of her work. The Icarus Girl is currently on Oyster, and Boy, Snow, Bird was a pretty popular novel last year and I can probably get it from my library. I think Mr. Fox just maybe wasn’t the right place to start.
Have you read any of Helen Oyeyemi’s novels before? Do you have a favorite?
Sarah Says: 2.5 stars