Confessions of the Fox

Confessions of the Fox

A Novel

Book - 2018
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A New York Times Editors' Choice: "A mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid, eighteenth century London . . . a joyous mash-up of literary genres shot through with queer theory and awash in sex, crime, and revolution."

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker * HuffPost * Kirkus Reviews * Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award * Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize * "A dazzling tale of queer romance and resistance."-- Time

Jack Sheppard and Edgeworth Bess were the most notorious thieves, jailbreakers, and lovers of eighteenth-century London. Yet no one knows the true story; their confessions have never been found.

Until now. Reeling from heartbreak, a scholar named Dr. Voth discovers a long-lost manuscript--a gender-defying exposé of Jack and Bess's adventures. Is Confessions of the Fox an authentic autobiography or a hoax? As Dr. Voth is drawn deeper into Jack and Bess's tale of underworld resistance and gender transformation, it becomes clear that their fates are intertwined--and only a miracle will save them all.

Writing with the narrative mastery of Sarah Waters and the playful imagination of Nabokov, Jordy Rosenberg is an audacious storyteller of extraordinary talent.

Praise for Confessions of the Fox

"A cunning metafiction of vulpine versatility . . . an action-adventure tale with postmodern flourishes; an academic comedy spliced with period erotica; an intimate meditation on belonging." --Katy Waldman, The New Yorker

" Confessions of the Fox is so goddamned good. Reading it was like an out-of-body experience. I want to run through the streets screaming about it. It should be in the personal canon of every queer and non-cis person. Read it. " --Carmen Maria Machado, National Book Award finalist for Her Body and Other Parties

"A hat tip to Moby-Dick . . . a running footnote hall of mirrors to rival Borges . . . one of the most trenchant calls for progressive action that I have read in a very long time." -- The New York Times Book Review

"An ambitious work of metafiction, a sexy queer love story . . . a bold first novel." -- Entertainment Weekly
Publisher: New York : One World, ©2018.
ISBN: 9780399592270
Characteristics: xiv, 329 pages ;,25 cm

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bairdbrain
Jan 20, 2019

A professor of 18th century literature finds an 18th century manuscript about a renowned transgender thief (loosely based on "Three-Penny-Opera" and transcribes it with footnotes. The novel becomes a palimpsest, sexual adventure, and survival story of marginalized people. Tantalizes with 18th century slang, details of squalid London life, and the parallel plot surrounding the professor (also transgender). Blurs the line between miracles, legend, and social revolution. "Imaginative" is too bland a word for this book.

SnoIsleLib_LindseyA Oct 27, 2018

This book will not be for everyone. If you're not used to old English slang, you may find this a difficult read. Footnotes prove to be a double-edged sword. Pausing the story to read these can make it drag, especially when Dr. Voth, the fictional translator goes on tangents, but you will gain historical insight and learn the definitions of slang such as "smish" (shirt) and "bat house" (brothel).

That said, I loved it, and I firmly believe this book will have a passionate audience. It's a literary adventure, a loving satire, a reclaiming of history for marginalized people, and it's full of skullduggery and romance. Rosenberg is quite a writer. He wields fantastic, inventive metaphors, and there's an earthy eroticism to his writing that I find very rare.

I was drawn to this book for its reimagining of a historical figure (Jack Sheppard, 18th century master thief) as a transman. I left it feeling clearheaded in a way, and with so much love for these characters.

l
laphampeak
Sep 09, 2018

Rosenberg takes us on an energetic expedition into Dr. Vox's (trans)lation of an 18th century manuscript about a famous thief Jack Sheppard. The reader follows the escapades and capers which then is followed by Vox's footnotes and telling of his own present circumstances. The vivid description of characters and rich and wild escapades are sure to take you on a ride full of gaudy, amusing, and incredibly inventive narrative.

t
truestitches
Aug 26, 2018

I loved this book. It was exciting to encounter such a heady mix of ideas, humour and resistance in a very good story.

c
compufobe
Aug 25, 2018

I hope the author had as much fun writing this as I had reading it. I had to stop and laugh a few times. And he even refs 2 sf novels by SRD in a footnote that are among my favorites! What else could one want?

JCLTamiT Aug 15, 2018

I had a hard time selecting a star-rating for this one. It started out hard to put down. I really enjoyed the early part of Jack's story, and even liked Voth's story in the footnotes. As the book went on, though, I found it harder and harder to pick back up. Voth's story got extremely convoluted, academic, and a bit too meta for me. Jack's story remained pretty entertaining (though the best was definitely the first part), and was what got me to finish the book. There are some interesting themes, but maybe it just tried to say too much.

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