Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg
Confessions of the Fox explores longing and desire, juggling visceral descriptions with contemplations of various theoretical frameworks in an informative and evocative blend.
The “Editor’s Note” is part of the story, don’t skip it (it’s not very long). The way the footnotes weave through the story creates some artful and subtle shifts in tone and pacing, with pauses created by reading some bit of the meta-story before returning to the main narrative. The text plays with desire and euphoria and it’s so beautiful; euphoria from simple happiness, joy from sex, bliss from finally feeling right in one’s skin by way of craft, mastery, or gender expression. The counterpoint to this desire is longing; waiting for those golden moments when everything just fits, and taking measures to make that happiness more permanent, more stable. The narrator’s understanding of the text is filled with longing and tempered with discontent, balanced so it’s not quite the same emotional note as the main text (that would be too neat), but something complimentary and frequently wry. It’s also a narrative of heists, escapes, and close calls, an exhilarating tale which was wholly absorbing.
After a heartfelt and contemplative Editor’s note, Confessions of the Fox starts out with some delightfully antiquated erotic descriptions by way of describing The Fox’s crimes. This book weaves sexual and/or erotic content into every chapter and most scenes, in such a way that anyone who will be uncomfortable with frequent coy and not so coy references to anatomy and discussions of sex and sexual desire would be better to skip this one. But if all that sounds great to you, this book is amazing and I hope you‘ll love it as much as I do. This is apparently a somewhere between historical fiction and a retelling of a folk tale about a probably real person, I didn't come to this knowing any of that and still enjoyed it immensely. It's grounded enough to be completely comprehensible without any of that background knowledge, and I love how it turned out. The characterization is excellent, even secondary characters who only exist as references in the footnotes feel like they have an appropriate level of presence and vivacity. The perspective and contemplation by the Narrator in the footnotes balances the rawness of the MC.
CW for gaslighting, misgendering, racism, dysphoria, quarantine, plague, slavery, blood, surgery, child abuse, depictions of sex work, gun violence, violence, public execution, parental death, major character death, death.
Clear Your Shit Readathon 2020 prompt: On shelf the longest