Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D
In a make-believe world of talking animals and courtly love, you might expect a dastardly plot or two. But as Helen Oyeyemi's vibrant novel Mr. Fox (
Riverhead) makes clear, even pretend danger can be dangerous. "You're a villain," Mary, the literary muse of our antihero, the novelist St. John Fox, tells him. "You kill women. You're a serial killer." Mr. Fox doesn't share Mary's outrage, however. "It's ridiculous to be so sensitive about the content of fiction," he protests. But Mary knows better, and she constructs an elaborate series of adventures to teach Mr. Fox some lessons about his attitudes toward life and love. Based in part on a classic French folk tale, these labyrinthine tales-within-a-tale show him—and us—a powerful truth: that even ideas born of our imagination matter in the real world.
— Hadas Goshen