Novel set mainly in Pisa
Short stories set around the world, with the FOX at their heart
24th July 2021
In The Time of Foxes by Jo Lennan, short stories set around the world, with the fox at their heart.
“Foxes are misunderstood creatures… They’re not deceitful in the least. Just marvellous survivors, the way they live and thrive in the most extreme conditions..”
This is the second anthology of short stories, linked by the appearance of an animal, that I have read recently. The last was The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley, who works a calico cat into each featured story, all set around Tokyo. It’s a very appealing concept and both that novel and In the Time of Foxes have been a pleasure to read. The anticipation in each story is spotting the appearance and wondering in which of their many guises the ‘fox’ will manifest and what the chosen scenario will be.
The book opens with the story of a family on the cusp of having to depart Hackney to Sydney, where the woman’s mother is hurtling into Alzheimer dementia, and she needs to join her brother in deciding the future. Whilst the family is away, contractors come in to remove a den of foxes in an old tree stump. Are they a pest in Hackney, as one of the neighbours contests; or are the capable of adapting and surviving in the urban environment?
Then it’s back to Sydney for the second story and on to Russia and Moscow for a crazy and rather doomed love affair in the world of a small oligarch. Tokyo and Oxford each form tangible backdrops to their stories and then it’s on to surfing exploits in the Basque country, where two cousins explore their surfing options (taking along pipas on their trips – sunflower seeds – which are the snack of choice for the Spanish).
There are further locations that may prove familiar and not so familiar. The author really creates a credible and colourful backdrop for each story. Each story really truly is “a compressed novel“, short and sharp and incredibly rich in detail given the short format. An immersive collection that is sure to do well and a perfect choice for anyone who loves a good anthology of short storytelling (and for anyone who is fond of foxes and what they can symbolise).
Tina for the TripFiction Team
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