One thing I'm always telling myself I need to do is read more books. I think after enduring four years as an English major, I (even though I hate to say it) got tired of reading. So much so that I've been starting and stopping two chapters into a novel for the past two years or so. Disgraceful, I know.
But, anyway, l've been forcing myself to sit down and read some really good books and well, some not so good ones too. ("To each his own," right?) Books I should've read in college, but didn't. Books I missed out on as a kid. Some of the classics and some of the not so classic. Basically, anything I can get my hands on.
I was getting ready to reread an old favorite last week (Love in the Time of Cholera, for those curious minds) when my mom decided she wanted to scope out some new bookstores. Never one to turn down a free book or a midweek adventure, I jumped in the car and off we went.
I'm not gonna lie, this book store was AAA-MAZING. It sits on the corner lot of this très chic strip mall situation and the building is a circle! Literally. It looks Rapunzel's tower. I was sold before we even made it to the front door. But, I digress.
After perusing for a few minutes and picking up everything that looked interesting, I spotted this little pale blue book sitting all alone on a wall shelf. It was Mr. Fox.
I wasn't really sure what to expect. I'd never read any of Helen Oyeyemi's work. But the back cover made it seem interesting enough and I've been searching high and low for a new page turner for months. And lucky me, after the first few pages I wondered how I'd gone this long without Oyeyemi in my life!
Oyeyemi's writing is tantalizing. Intriguing. Addictive. Her words flow so fluidly that it's just about impossible to stop reading. (I'm not ashamed to admit, I went out and got the only other book Barnes and Noble had: 2014's Boy, Snow, Bird before I even finished Mr. Fox.)
If I sound like a teenage fan girl, then my mission has been accomplished. But by now I'm sure you're wondering, "What's all the fuss about"?
Well, I'll tell you. And I'll try not to spoil too much of it for you while I'm at it.
So, the book is about this guy named (of course) Mr. Fox. He's a writer and from what I can gather he's a pretty good one. But, like so may of us, he's stuck. Not on a plot or character development or anything like that, though. St. John Fox can't stop killing off his female characters. No matter what type of story he's writing, some poor lady is gonna die. He can't help it. It's like an addiction.
Enter Mary Foxe. Woman. Mistress (or is she?). Muse.
Mary's fed up. She's tired of dying in St. John's stories and so she comes up with an idea. Foxe challenges Fox to a game. Can he write a story where his heroine actually lives?
Maybe he can; maybe he can't. The heat is on and what we get is this incredible conglomeration of, what I'm calling, call and response storytelling from all the parties involved. Figuring out who's telling the tale gradually gets more difficult, but that's a part of the fun.
Oh. Did I forget to mention that St. John Fox is married? He is. And while all of this is happening his wife Daphne is growing more and more suspicious of how her husband is spending his time. Is he having an affair with this mystery woman? Is she even a real flesh and blood person? Well, my friends, you're gonna have to see for yourself.
If you're looking for something clever and deliciously amusing, I definitely suggest picking up a copy of Helen Oyeyemi's 2011 award-winning (no really, Google it!) Mr. Fox.
Until next time,