Foxing with fiction

Mr Fox by Helen OYEYEMI

Mr Fox is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Original in its concept, playful and witty in its presentation, this book breaks tradition and dares the reader to follow on its zig-zag path the relationship of St John Fox (much alive author) and Mary Foxe (his very much imaginary muse).

St John Fox has a penchant for killing off his leading ladies in inventively gruesome ways. Mary Foxe labels him a serial killer and demands that he change his ways or else she’ll leave him. Thus begins a literary adventure that bounces, rolls and strolls through a variety of scenarios, characters and plots as Mary and St John tackle each other, dare each other, fall in love with each other. Enter the very real Mrs Daphne Fox, who is not prepared to give up her man to an imaginary woman, no matter how seductive, without a fight.

Oyeyemi is a talented wordsmith who dares to break the rules with brilliant results. This latest novel was inspired by the folklore tale of Bluebeard – a fierce and formidable nobleman who violently murders his wives –  and references to him can been seen woven through the delightful fabric of this book. Oyeyemi takes traditional storytelling and turns it on its head.

Helen Oyeyemi is also the author of White is for Witching, which won the 2010 Somerset Maugham Award (a book that I highly recommend) as well as titles The Icarus Girl and The Opposite House.

Mr Fox is published by Picador