Read When Fox Is a Thousand by Larissa Lai Online


When Fox is a Thousand is a lyrical, magical novel, rich with poetry and folklore and elements of the fairytale. Larissa Lai interweaves three narrative voices and their attendant cultures: an elusive fox growing toward wisdom and her 1000 birthday, the ninth-century Taoist poet/nun Yu Hsuan-Chi (a real person executed in China for murder), and the oddly named Artemis, a yWhen Fox is a Thousand is a lyrical, magical novel, rich with poetry and folklore and elements of the fairytale. Larissa Lai interweaves three narrative voices and their attendant cultures: an elusive fox growing toward wisdom and her 1000 birthday, the ninth-century Taoist poet/nun Yu Hsuan-Chi (a real person executed in China for murder), and the oddly named Artemis, a young Asian-American woman living in contemporary Vancouver.With beautiful and enchanting prose, and a sure narrative hand, Lai combines Chinese mythology, the sexual politics of medieval China, and modern-day Vancouver to masterfully revise the myth of the Fox (a figure who can inhibit women’s bodies in order to cause mischief). Her potent imagination and considerable verbal skill result in a tale that continues to haunt long after the story is told.First published to wide acclaim in 1995 and out of print since 2001, this new edition of When Fox is a Thousand, published by Arsenal Pulp Press for the first time, features a new foreword by the author.Praise for When Fox is a Thousand:“A sure-footed writer and teller of tales, Lai takes the reader on a magnificent journey through layers of time, myth, and imagery.”—Susan Crean“A particularly acute pleasure.”—The AdvocateLarissa Lai was born in La Jolla, California and lives in Calgary where she is completing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Calgary. She was awarded an Astraea Foundation Emerging Writers Award in 1995. She is also the author of the novel Salt Fish Girl (2002)....

Title : When Fox Is a Thousand
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780889740419
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 236 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

When Fox Is a Thousand Reviews

  • Kimberly Read
    2019-05-16 19:01

    The poetry of this novel is superb. I really enjoyed Larissa Lai's unique vocabulary. She uses words or phrases in unexpected combinations and I love that. I sometimes felt I could reach out and touch her descriptions - "the eroded hills have drunk all but the last drops of blue from the sky." I also appreciate her in-your-face presentation of difficult issues such as violence and war, race and discrimination, sexual preferences, feminism, cultural mores and interpersonal relationships. The story is told from the perspective of three characters - a poetess from ancient China, a young college woman from modern Canada and a mythical, mischievous fox that crosses generations. The revolving viewpoint allows the reader to more intimately examine these tough questions so often tied to our personal identity. With that said, Lai does not resolve these issues for you. As a matter of fact, the narrative ends rather abruptly with little resolution. I did find that a little frustrating or uncomfortable, but I do believe this was the intent of the author. Have we resolved these problems in our society, in our personal lives? Do our lives build to an omniscient climax with a neat, warm-fuzzy wrap-up? No? This novel won't either, but it will make you think.

  • Ivana Books Are Magic
    2019-04-23 11:39

    This novel follows three different narrations that flow toward a common source. These narrations come closer and closer together until they join in a single river that sings a profound song. Goodreads describes When Fox Turns A Thousand as a lyrical novel. I can certainly see why for its prose is indeed lyrical. The novel is written beautifully and poetically. You know, if the author was South American in origin, perhaps we would call this novel magical realism. Speaking of origin, that happens to be an important theme in this novel. Asian origin is a much discussed subject in his novel. What does our origin really mean? Is it a cultural or a racial thing? Are there ties of blood that link us to the places of our origin, some kind of collective memory founded a biological basis we share, or is it a matter of choice, ties of heart and emotion? Or is it a matter of education? Can it be that knowing a lot about a certain culture makes us a part of it? This novel is all about female Asian voices, both past and modern ones. This story is about West meeting East, not East of the present but that of the past. East of the old preserved in the souls of women. For aren’t women traditionally keepers of lore? In this novel you will see Asian mythology coming to life, getting mixed up in lives of modern women of Asian origin that are living in Canada of the present. To introduce this novel, I think it makes sense to add that it could also be described as a lesbian novel. That’s how I see it, because I don’t think that any of these sexual relationships between women described (both those set in past and those set in present) should be taken in a metaphorical way, they are to be taken for what they are. Homosexual love takes many shapes and forms in this novel, it is not always a perfect joining of souls, but it is always love. Lesbian love in varying degress of depth and meaning, ranging from loved primarily based on lust and desire to that based on deep connections and friendship.Three voices (Artemis, the Fox and the Poetess) tell their story, but only one of them speaks to us directly. The fox is the only first person narrator and she seems to have an insight into the minds of the ladies whose stories parallel her narration. This mythological creature that is able to take a shape of a woman by reanimating corpses opens with her background story (that she will elaborate on many times). So, this novel starts off with a tale of loneliness. (Appropriate perhaps, because it is very honest in revealing what happens when we are searching for escape in romantic relationships. Often what happens is more loneliness.) Another narrator, the Poetess speaks in a first person voice often, but it is hard to tell her own history from the stories of women she talks about. In other words, it seemed hard ( to me at least) to tell the Poetess as a writer from Poetess as a person. Not that it didn't work in the context of the novel, for it surely did. It is just that as a narrator, I found it hard to visualize her and for some reason saw her only as an aspect of the fox (which she is not btw, she is based on an actual person from Chinese history). I suppose that the Poetess is an unreliable narrator and her actions are meant to be open to interpretation. Finally, there is Artemis whose story is told from a perspective of an all knowing narrator, so we get to know her most inner thoughts and desires. In a way she is also a narrator, because it is throught her eyes (or more specifically through an all knowing narrator that sees through her eyes) that we get introduced to a cast of female characters (Mercy, Diane and Claude). All of these contemporary Canadian- Asian female characters happen to be gay (as do all the important characters in the novel). In this novel you will find love stories told from different angles...and they are often open to intepretation. Who is a reliable narrator when it comes to love? Artemis isn’t exactly reliable either, she even says so herself. What does a reliable narrator even means and is there such a thing? The wonderful thing about this novel is that it shows there can be many views of the same event, that two lovers can feel betrayed at the same time, perhaps by the same action they both interpret (and cannot help themselves) in their own way.As I said, only one of these three distinct voices belong to a woman living in our place and time. Artemis is a young student of Chinese origin trying to find her place in Canada. Both of her adoptive parents are white, which probably makes her feel a bit out of place for she is not exactly native and not exactly an immigrant. Perhaps this is to strengthen her connection with the Fox and the Poetess, to show that Artemis isn’t completely rooted in this material world, that her soul is so old that the modern world is a challenge for Artemis. Is Artemis meant to be a mystery or did the author had so much going on that she didn't manage to eleborate on everything? I can't tell for sure. Artemis' name reveals something of her character, but she is hard to understand. For most of the novel she is fairly passive and I must admit that made me feel frustrated at times. I know that Artemis is not meant to come off as a mortal vertical, I don’t have a problem with having a protagonist who isn’t exactly a saint but what bothered me is that she somehow doesn’t seem to be developing as a character. Only seen through fox’s eyes, she seems to come completely alive. That mystical aspect of the novels adds a new dimension to Artemis, but I think that there was more space for her character development. There were moments when Artemis’ relationships with other women seemed to cast a revealing light not just onto her, but on women she was with, but for most part it didn’t feel quite enough. I felt like something was missing, but I have hard time defining just what. Let’s get back to the novel and the actual story that gets shaped by these three narrations. All these love stories told are tales of lesbian relationships. There is no place for romantic relationships between men and women in this novel, so if that is what you are looking for, you won't find it here. Relationship with men are often only alluded on, they’re never in a centre of any true love story. Men are defined only through their relationship with women, as a tool of getting something else, a sentimental memory or as an object that enables rivalry. I would say that these women character are authentically gay, which surely makes the novel more interesting. Women in thos novel are falling one for another, both in the stories of the old and those set in present time. That aspect of the novel was very refreshing. It is one of the things that makes it wonderfully original. Nevertheless, when it comes to love stories, I found the modern ones a bit lacking compared with those of the old. Another thing I liked is that it showed the complexity of women, how they are capable both for acts of great love and those of great cruelty. For me personally, the down side of the novel was characterization of modern characters (i.e. those that appear in Artemis’ narration) that ended up being less interesting than historical and fairy-tale ones.I was surprised, given the fairy tale writing style, how real all the female characters in narrations of Fox and the Poetess seemed real. The fantasy element didn’t take anything away either, not at all. I loved that fantasy and historical aspect of the novel, it felt very genuine in its imaginative scope. Moreover, it was masterfully written. In fact, my favourite aspect of the novel was the narration of the Fox. Artemis wasn’t a character that was exactly likeable and the Poetess proved elusive and transcendental as good poetry ought to be, which means I enjoyed reading her passages but I didn’t really experience her as a distinct character/narrator. The Fox on the other hand, mesmerized me. If I were to be completely honest, I would have to say that the narrative following Artemis life was my least favourite one, for reasons I already explained. The characters are never explored in depth. In addition, there are some stereotypes in this story. It is a paradox that I found the stories told by the Poetess and the Fox more credible and better developed, especially as most of them are set in a distant time or place. Those women from far past seemed more real than their present day versions. Artemis, Diane, Mercy and Claude seem to be awfully similar at times, feeding on that victim glam that is so popular nowadays and starting drama for drama’s sake. None of them felt tangible and definable as a character, not in the way Fox did ( I don't mind the fact that a spirit that is about to turn 1000 years old seemed more real that present day characters, for what is reality in context of literature? I'm just making an observation about the novel and where there seems to be room for improvement).That all being said, the way this novel ties everything up in the end is ingenious. I did enjoyed reading it, even if it was a bit predicatble at times. It deserves four starts easily, both for its satisfying ending and the unique beauty of its writing. It was well worth staying up late to finish reading it. As a drifted to sleep, I had a sensation there if turned the other way quickly enough, I would find that a friendly fox was looking at me. There is magic to be found in this novel.

  • kateywatey
    2019-05-12 14:48

    I came across this book whilst on a magic realism expedition. I'd never heard of it before, nor of Lai, so you can imagine my sheer surprise when this book ticked so many boxes for me. Mythology, storytelling, shapeshifting through the ages, re-storytelling, women who love women ... I devoured this book on the first read, and I knew I had rushed through it, not letting the story and characters fully consume me. I read it in a second, more-dedicated reading a couple of months later. The book consumed me -- it was all I could think about, I took the characters with me, and wove them into my own imaginative pursuits. The story became me, in part. It was no surprise, that after the climactic ending, I was breathless that this book was no more ... What a find, and an unexpected gem of a find ... the best read I've come across in years. Thank you, Larissa Lai.

  • Danika at The Lesbrary
    2019-05-15 19:31

    Short version: I don't know why this isn't considered a classic lesbian novel. It deserves way more attention. Long version:

  • Elizabeth Hunter
    2019-05-03 12:40

    This is a fascinating book, told in three narrative strands which follow a poet of ancient China, a young woman in modern Vancouver and the fox spirit who haunts them both. The modern section was my least favorite, mostly due to the passivity and diffidence of the protagonist, but the writing was well done and I really liked what the author was doing in trying to bridge the Chinese-Canadian gap. This reminded me of Charles de Lint's work, while being much more solid.

  • Lila
    2019-05-12 16:39

    The subject matter was interesting and I loved the Fox Spirit Mythology, but felt the character development of the 9th century Poetess was very incomplete. Most of the story revolves around Artemis, the young student living in Vancouver. She is not particularity likeable, but I believe it was the author’s intention to portray her this way. Her experiences are very typical of people in their early twenties in that era, living on their own for the first time. I personally would have liked more details about the 9th century Poetess’s life. I also felt somewhat unsatisfied with the ending. All that being said, it IS a novel that leaves an impression and has you thinking about it even when not reading it.

  • Maria
    2019-04-23 19:41

    Definitely interesting. I read this book because a classmate in my Third World Women Writers class recommended the author. I was interested in the fox spirit mythology. I was also interested in reading books that dealt with some issues of gender.My favorite voices (out of the three) were the fox and the poetess. I wasn't so interested in Artemis' (so much drama...) but it wasn't terrible. It was hard to get through at times (like I said, drama!) but I'm glad I read it. There were definitely fascinatingly poetic sections that I really loved and would have underlined/marked-up if it weren't a library book!

  • Julie
    2019-05-12 17:38

    Not my cuppa. This had so many elements that I thought I would love — three separate and entertwining narratives! mythological fox trickster spirits! university students in Vancouver! lesbian women of colour! poetesses in ancient China! — but instead I found myself bored and skimming pages in an attempt to get it over with.I don’t know if it was my current mood or if it’s just that the lyrical, poetic prose and lack of plot ground on my nerves and wasn’t to my taste. I can see what the author was trying to do, and I appreciate someone tackling race and identity and sexuality and Asian prejudice; some of the passages I highlighted most were about Artemis Wong’s struggles with identity & authenticity & the gap between being Chinese and Canadian and Chinese-Canadian. E.g. her time spent in Hong Kong and feeling alien and sticking out like a sore thumb despite everyone looking like her for once; it was a moment I recognised deeply because it rang so close to my own visits to Tokyo.But overall, I lost patience with the book about halfway through because I just really, really need concrete plot in my novels.

  • Hannah
    2019-05-05 15:00

    What a beautiful, meaty read. I haven't read something with so much intent in every word in a very long time. Despite being rooted in mythology, even paranormal, the one word that describes this entire book is: human. There are no heroes, just people. There's no blinding epiphany, just life and life's uncertainties. History isn't beautiful when it's told as humanity created it. All of this illustrated with some of the most beautiful imagery I've encountered in a long time.Multiple slower rereads will help me peace out the complexities of themes about race, sexuality, and identity (among a few). For now I'll remember how beautifully unsettling this novel is.

  • Shenwei
    2019-05-13 15:00

    this was very queer, very complex and even confusing but very engrossing all the same. the three entwined stories stretching across space and time explore Chinese womanhood and sexuality and the haunting of past traumas in a fresh take on the take on the lore of the fox spirit who seduces unsuspecting scholars.

  • TL
    2019-05-03 16:56

    This is a very thoughtful and imaginative account of Vancouver hipsters in the late 80s. Who knew Vancouverites were so hip, artsy, and pretentious even back then? In the novel, there are video artists, all manner of LGBT, photographers, muses, and bad girls sleeping with all genders. We didn't know Vancouver was so Keith Haring-ish and British punk rock at that time. We think of Vancouver as more hippie than Haring. Well, now we know better. This novel is a very sensitive and in-depth view of a little-known subculture of Vancouver in the late 80s. Like other Asian North American authors, Lai is exceedingly imaginative - maybe a little too much, bordering on gimmicky. She does remind me of Naomi J. Williams, a Japanese American author based in Davis, CA. Asian American authors seem to enjoy multiple narrators, and puzzle-like, cerebral, thoughtful fiction. The now-famous sci-fi author Ted Chiang is like that, too. And so is one of the most-lauded Asian American authors, Jhumpa Lahiri. Her work is not fantastical - they're about ordinary people and relationships - but she has the same thoughtful, sensitive treatment of her characters. And it's not limited to writers - the director M. Night Shymalan is infamous for his puzzle-y, creative films. What is it about Asian American creative types that make them so gimmicky, deep, and innovative? I'd say part of it is being bicultural, and having more unique and multiple perspectives because of that. I enjoy reading Asian American authors because they do tend to offer so much more than typical American authors. They tend to be a lot more interesting, sweet, and insightful. Anyway, I'm docking off a star because Lai is what other pretentious Asian American authors are like. It's a semi-autobiographical novel, as first novels tend to be. Her protagonist is herself when she was a new college grad, still a bit naive and sweet. But the protagonist, Artemis Wong, is so nasty and hateful, in a passive-aggressive way, towards Mercy - a dowdy good Christian girl, in Artemis' eyes. Artemis' disdain toward Mercy reflects the all-too-familiar contempt of hipster Asian Americans towards those they perceive to be less cool. Mercy is like the stereotypical Asian you want to stay away from, and that you value less. According to Artemis, Mercy is bland, a goody-two-shoes Christian girl, and not something she'd otherwise hang out with if not for convenience. I really don't want to know Artemis, or, in effect, the author. Artemis is obviously very proud of being a whitewashed Chinese-Canadian girl. She was very boastful and proud of being only 1 of 2 Chinese girls in the Humanities - rather than the Asian STEM stereotypes. This first novel, written when Lai was in her early 20s, really reflects her immaturity and hatred towards Asians she sees as less-hip and less white. This novel is an excellent representation of how very-similar Asians look down on each other. Artemis is Canadian-born Chinese, as is the "friend" she considers inferior, Mercy/Ming. Asian Americans are very selective in who they really admire and choose to befriend or date. If an Asian seems less than hip - perceived to be less hip then they are - then they have even more contempt for them than a non-Asian. Artemis/Lai, and other hipster Asians, will look down on any Asian they perceive, rightly or wrongly, to be more uncool than they are. That's constant and pervasive throughout all of North America. You can just feel the condescending tone that Artemis has for Mercy throughout the novel. Even when Mercy pretentiously turned hip, and changed her name to the fabulous Ming, the narrator STILL saw her with contempt. Poor Mercy. She's damned if she does, and damned if she doesn't. Hipster superiority complex (HSC) is prevalent in certain cities - and I now know it includes Vancouver in the late 80s. There's no greater and more complex HSC than Asians towards Asians they think are less hip. If it wasn't for the author's selfish, immature disdain towards Mercy, I'd have given the book 4 stars instead of 3. The novel is extremely eloquent and well-written - another commonality among Asian American writers. Again, the book is incredibly thoughtful, sensitive, unique, and creative. I had a very hard time reading this, though. It goes deep within the psyche, aspirations, and hierarchy that hipster Asian North Americans have - all of them. It should be a fixture in Asian American lit classes. But surprisingly, Lai is little-known in the US, though I read that she's well-known in Canada.

  • Mary-Beth
    2019-05-06 17:37

    I got through the whole thing somehow. I'm really interested in the mythology surrounding foxes becoming human. It's an interesting concept to me. So when I picked up this book, I was expecting the main character to be a fox. Not so, the main character title gets split between three characters: one fox, and two different people in time he has tricked and troubled. The Poetess, the character from the past whose body the fox eventually stole, was interesting until she went crazy and her sections of the novel degenerated into meaningless poetic language (of course that's what happens when a poet goes mad, right?). The main character, who I believe gets the most sections in the novel, Artemis, has to be the most frustrating character ever. We should attribute some of her frustrating qualities to the fact she's being manipulated by the fox, some of them to the fact that she is an adopted child, and some to the fact that as a minority, her life is difficult, but it ultimately makes no difference in how dull and ridiculous she is. She pops in and out of relationships constantly. She apparently 'never feels at home' or contented. She does next to nothing, even though she is supposedly a student. She shoplifts, once, which is supposed to make her more interesting, I think. She makes friends with a girl who steals credit cards and is then surprised when that girl betrays her. She falls in love with a guy who doesn't want to have sex with her, lives with him for a while and sleeps platonically with him, then resents him when he finally realizes he is gay. She ignores her friends and lovers, then feels hurt when they mistreat her. When she is mistreated by her lovers (male or female) she just sits back and lets it happen, without even protesting verbally. I just don't know. I understand she has difficulty with her identity, but you can't even say she's struggling to find it, because she doesn't even seem to care that she is lacking one. There's no substance to her whatsoever and since she is carrying the novel it makes for a very difficult read.As I mentioned, so little happens in the novel as well, apart from relationships breaking apart. The main action all occurs at the end of the novel and then it's both gruesome and bizarre. I just couldn't enjoy this.

  • Megan
    2019-04-29 18:52

    Like the fox of Eastern mythology, this book is rather mysterious. It lacks a traditional plot with a clear climax, protagonist, and antagonist, yet the writing style and the realism of the characters managed to hold my interest to the end.The story has three voices: a fox nearing age 1000 speaks some parts, a Chinese poetess who lived around 1000 years ago speaks others, and a third-person narrator in the late 80s recounts the life of a Chinese-Canadian woman named Artemis in the rest. Neither the two characters nor the narrator are omniscient - individuals' emotions or motives are mostly evidenced by their actions, and their behavior and words are sometimes impulsive, inaccurate, and/or baffling. I never felt like I understood any of them fully, and they weren't even always likeable, but they all (even the fox!) were relatably human and fallible.The book explores the ambiguity of identity, especially ethnic and gender identity. Artemis and her acquaintances never seem quite at peace with their Asian-Canadian identities: they are aware in varying degrees of their removal from the 'white' culture in which they live. The characters' sexuality is not clearly defined, either. Only one character is overtly labeled as gay; the others form physical relationships with men or women with apparent ease (at least, there is no self-questioning on this point).I say "explores," but there is no discovery of any truth or position in the book. The story records actions and words in different settings and leaves the reader feeling as though he or she has sampled many dishes but ordered none: a strange feeling, but not an unsatisfactory one.

  • Marty
    2019-05-14 14:56

    I enjoyed this book - it was like writing three short stories that might or might not have some relation to each other. The fox is closing in on a thousand years, an age when she will be able to change her form at will, rather than relying on reanimated corpses. A parallel story involves a famous, doomed 11th century Chinese poetess who is on trial for beating her servant and lover to death out of jealousy. The last member of the trio is Artemis Wong, an adopted child of Canadian parents who is split between wanting to be thoroughly Canadian despite her adoptive parents insistence on keeping her 'in touch' with her Chinese background. Adding to her mental struggles are the friends and lovers who alternately enrich her life only to leave her one way or another and the biological mother who suddenly appears wanting to meet her after 20 years. The fox cavorts in and out of the plot, causing mischief as only an immortal fox can.I assumed all these plots would coalesce and they did, more or less. Lai leaves some issues unresolved, which is more satisfying in a novel that has a more folktale-like feel to it. What really becomes of Artemis and her mother? Who killed her friend, Mercy? And how will the fox figure into the future of all the human characters? It's left up to the reader's imagination.Lai's writing is beautiful. She is able to successfully shift her prose between folktale, historical memoir and modern-day search for self and happiness with skill and ease. Definitely worth the read.

  • Sharline
    2019-04-30 18:58

    Larissa Lai is a gifted Chinese Canadian author with a refreshing approach to storytelling, especially in terms of interweaving ancient Chinese mythology with contemporary Chinese diaspora issues.I really enjoyed her book "When Fox is a Thousand," admittedly because the Chinese myths and mythical characters came from stories my mother had told me about as a child, and because the protagonist, a 20-something Chinese Canadian trying to figure herself out, reminded me of myself at that age. Still, I think plenty of readers of all backgrounds will appreciate this tale of magic, mystery, and sensuality, with its subtexts about identity (both ethnic and sexual), history and heritage.Considering that this was Lai's first book--which she wrote in her twenties--I found the voices (the story is told in the voices of three characters all set in different periods of Chinese/Chinese diaspora history), structure, and overall story to be gripping and very impressive. I think this book would make a really good film. If you have a hard time getting this book, I can lend it out, but I like it so much, I want it back. cheers,Sharline

  • Megan
    2019-05-03 12:55

    I am not sure if this is sci-fi or fiction...there are three parts to this novel: the folktale/on-going time of the fox, ninth century china, and contemporary vancouver. i have to admit i got too enraptured with the contemporary story to fully grasp the later details of the other two sections, but they were really amazingly intertwined. i had no idea this would have queer lady love happenings...turns out the fox is into that kind of thing. really good.

  • Laura
    2019-04-27 15:42

    loved the writing style - I usually dislike books that flit between too many characters but some how it works... I feel like its one of those books I will read again and find it to be new the next time

  • Rift Vegan
    2019-05-04 16:43

    I think I should have enjoyed this book more, it had many elements that I am fascinated with -- most importantly the Asian fox myth. But I never really cared about any of the characters, and there wasn't much of a story to follow. darn it.

  • Cristina Domenech
    2019-05-05 11:53

    4.75 en realidad. Me permito redondear hacia arriba porque lo poquísimo de este libro que no me gustó se me olvidó muy rápido, porque la prosa de Larissa Lai es d i v i n a. Regalo de los dioses.

  • Carolyn Fitzpatrick
    2019-05-09 14:38

    An interesting book, but difficult to read due to the fragmented stories woven together. It is described as magical realism, but really there are very few sections in the story where the magic elements (a spirit fox) interacts with the modern world. Most of the fox narratives are set in China, hundreds of years ago. The modern era stories are set in Canada and focus on a Chinese American girl who is struggling to find her way in life. She has a series of frustrating relationships that seem okay and then suddenly take a turn for the worse. People are constantly friendly one minute and then manipulative the next, which made me question whether this is a case of unreliable narrator. The whole book was fascinating, but had the feeling of a dream world, absent from reality.

  • Pat MacEwen
    2019-04-21 17:51

    I found the characters fascinating. I am more familiar with Japanese ideas about foxes and fox magic than Chinese, and enjoyed exploring the differences. The trickiness of dealing with foxes is used to excellent effect, in matters of love and hate and friendship, support and betrayal, and I was never sure which way things were going to turn at any given moment. I treasure this kind of plotline, as I prefer the unpredictable, the surprising, to the same old thing. The gender politics involved were also engaging, and kept me guessing as to how it would all turn out. I look forward to reading more work by this author.

  • Emily
    2019-05-12 15:50

    This was hard for me to get and stay interested in, though I really wanted to. It seems to have it all: magical trickster foxes and lesbians. (Really, what else should you need?) But for me this lacked a spark to make it really come to life.

  • Nattieburd
    2019-05-17 13:36

    lost interest 40 pages in

  • Joanne Teasdale
    2019-05-21 18:37

    Confusing mix of lore, spirituality, racism, and sexual awareness. I liked it, but still scratching my head in confusion.

  • K
    2019-04-21 17:33

    Something about the voice of this book just captivated me. Even though half of it is post-adolescent burnout groping, which I usually have zero patience for, here it felt very real, as opposed to indulgent angst. I could remember feeling the way the characters did, and could remember having friends who did what they did.So, modern fairy tale nailed on the "tone." Tapping into the modern universal subconscious: achieved.And then there's the fox bits, which are all I originally came for. Those are lovely, as hoped. The poetess didn't really register. I feel like I need to go back and read her sections exclusively in order to understand what happened there. (But, reading the last 100 pages was split over 5 nights which is obviously not ideal for the flow and weave of this book's style. I know I missed a lot in the building parallels. Even so, this was an actually transportive reading experience.)

  • Andrea
    2019-05-09 17:58

    hmm. i read this on a recommendation from a prof. she said i might like it, as it's all about morphing bodies, women, etc. it's true, it's a very interesting book, if maybe a little too self-reflective. you never lose yourself in the story, because it is so aware that it is a story. still. very interesting, and i read it in about two days flat.

  • Ting
    2019-05-15 18:44

    I loved the narration of all the different characters. My favourite of them all was the fox, herself. The novel had an erotic plot to it, but the girl drama between Artemis and Diane was too much for me.

  • Rattyfleef
    2019-05-05 19:55

    So bad it made me angry. How someone could take so much stellar raw material and turn out such a lackluster meander of a nonstory I don't know. Even the characters are bored with themselves.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-07 15:31

    Lent to Daniel

  • Melissa
    2019-04-22 13:33