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La Femme Changée En Renard

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Le changement soudain de Mrs. Tebrick en renard, tel est le point de départ merveilleux de cette histoire sans pareil qui n'est pas seulement un conte mais aussi, mais surtout, l'une des plus jolies histoires d'amour depuis Adam et Eve et sans doute l'une des très rares histoires d'amour vrai. Le changement soudain de Mrs. Tebrick en renard, tel est le point de départ merveilleux de cette histoire sans pareil qui n'est pas seulement un conte mais aussi, mais surtout, l'une des plus jolies histoires d'amour depuis Adam et Eve et sans doute l'une des très rares histoires d'amour vrai.


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Le changement soudain de Mrs. Tebrick en renard, tel est le point de départ merveilleux de cette histoire sans pareil qui n'est pas seulement un conte mais aussi, mais surtout, l'une des plus jolies histoires d'amour depuis Adam et Eve et sans doute l'une des très rares histoires d'amour vrai. Le changement soudain de Mrs. Tebrick en renard, tel est le point de départ merveilleux de cette histoire sans pareil qui n'est pas seulement un conte mais aussi, mais surtout, l'une des plus jolies histoires d'amour depuis Adam et Eve et sans doute l'une des très rares histoires d'amour vrai.

30 review for La Femme Changée En Renard

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ilse

    However you may be changed, my love is not. When witnessing the expression of traditional wedding vows - the promise to have and to hold, from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part – one can wonder how many couples will be able to truly live up to this, regardless of the circumstances, and at the same time keep the love alive. Aren’t those vows rather absurd, taking into account the current average However you may be changed, my love is not. When witnessing the expression of traditional wedding vows - the promise to have and to hold, from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part – one can wonder how many couples will be able to truly live up to this, regardless of the circumstances, and at the same time keep the love alive. Aren’t those vows rather absurd, taking into account the current average life expectancy and hence potential length of a long-term relationship, in which the likelihood of a radical personality change cannot be excluded and we might over time hardly recognise the person we initially loved - and change ourselves as well? Such vows might be lightly taken, but it is largely when affliction enters that we might come to realise what these promises really signify and what almost impossible trial they can imply. And for Richard Tebrick and his wife Sylvia Fox – nomen est omen – this day of ordeal happens to arrive very early in their marriage. During a walk, Silvia suddenly turns into a fox – yes, that bright, fluffy, reddish creature, which some of the English love to hunt. What should Richard do with this wild beast, in which he – at least at the beginning - still recognises his sophisticated, well-mannered, beloved wife? He sees no other possibility than to smuggle her into his manor house. But how can he hide her metamorphosis from the outside world? There are the servants who might find out and gossip. The furious barking of his dogs does not bode well either. He makes every effort to continue conjugal life with his vixen as if nothing has happened. He feeds his vixen tasty snacks, washes and brushes her, plays card games and drinks tea with her, plays the pianoforte for her – Händel, Mendelssohn. But his wife grows foxier and foxier and less ladylike with the day, ripping her clothes to shreds, wildly chasing ducks, eating up every scrap of a cute little rabbit, so dispiriting her husband who has great trouble to adapt to her new condition: "Oh Silvia, Silvia, would you had never done this! Would I had never tempted you in a fatal hour! Does not this butchery and eating of raw meat and rabbit's fur disgust you? Are you a monster in your soul as well as in your body? Have you forgotten what it is to be a woman?" Mr. Tebrick sinks into despair when his vixen undertakes desperate attempts to escape from him, grieving for her change without loving her less for it, fighting his disgust for her feral behaviour and at the same time worried to death about her safety, and overprotecting her. Gradually he realizes that despite all the dangers that threaten her and his sincere wish to stay together, he must let her go and give her the freedom to live along her vixen nature. When he has nearly gone mad from sorrow, she will return to him to proudly show him her cubs… Wondering why this tale affected me so– save from some soppy fondness of foxes since the moment I attended The cunning little vixen, the opera of Leoš Janáček (and which Janáček started to write in the same year as Garnett published his foxy story, 1922), it might be Mr. Tebrick’s lasting commitment and passionate devotion to his lady, even when her most distinctive features as the woman he loved have disappeared, and his ultimate act of self-sacrifice to set her free and putting her happiness above his, that pulled at my heartstrings. The afterword suggests that Garnett’s fairy-tale can be read in many ways and basically as a metaphor, be it one which is open to multiple interpretations (indomitable female sexuality , the wildness of das ewig weibliche, marital fidelity ad absurdum, the blindness of love, the longing for freedom which true love doesn’t curb but encourages…). As it is left a mystery why Silvia changes into a fox, one could come up with several explanations (one I read suggesting Silvia has alienated her husband so fundamentally by adultery, she no longer belongs to the same species in his eyes). So it will depend on the reader’s affinities what he or she will find in it. I am inclined to see it as an allegorical ode to unconditional love – however painful and mad such love might be and certainly might appear to outsiders. As Erich Fromm wrote in his The Art of Loving, on unconditional love, There is no misdeed, no crime which could deprive you of my love, of my wish for your life and happiness. Garnett’s story inspired quite a few others, like a parody by Christopher Ward (Gentleman into Goose), Sylva by Vercors, and recently a short story by Sarah Hall, Mrs Fox. It can be read here, in a version including more of the reproductions of the original woodcuts from Ray (Rachel Alice Marshall), David Garnett’s first wife. When my thirteen year old daughter had to choose a novel to read for class, I recommended this one. However she is not that fond of animal stories or fables, she read it in one sitting. Although I warned her this was no simple feel good story, she wasn’t up to the (unsurprisingly sad) ending and as one of the school assignments with regard to the reading was to rewrite a scene from the book, she wrote an alternative, happy ending. By doing so she reminded me of what a book lover sometimes like to forget for a moment: admitting there is a difference between real life and books, as it might be slightly more difficult to rewrite your life. David Garnett’s foxy story, tragic and profoundly sad it might be, to me captures and contains some of the finest delights of love: subtle humour, playfulness, comradeship, tenderness, solidarity and consideration, a need to suspend disbelief and to keep faith, an excellent sense of the absurd. It was a pleasure to revisit this novel to celebrate Valentine’s day, and once residing in the realm of imagination, picturing a day-dream of curling up close and reading this aloud to one’s beloved. This novel might offer you food for thought and something to talk about late at night (at least if you can cope with the truth that all good things can come to an end). Let love rule.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    A very odd little novella. It was written by David Garnett, part of the Bloomsbury scene as a result of his affair with Duncan Grant. It was written in 1922 after they had broken up and was dedicated to Grant. It won the James Tait Black prize and the Hawthornden prize. The woodcuts in the original were by Garnett’s then wife Rachel. Later in life Garnett married Angelica Bell, daughter of Vanessa Bell. The story is a simple one; a fable or fairy tale. Richard Tebricks marries Silvia Fox and the A very odd little novella. It was written by David Garnett, part of the Bloomsbury scene as a result of his affair with Duncan Grant. It was written in 1922 after they had broken up and was dedicated to Grant. It won the James Tait Black prize and the Hawthornden prize. The woodcuts in the original were by Garnett’s then wife Rachel. Later in life Garnett married Angelica Bell, daughter of Vanessa Bell. The story is a simple one; a fable or fairy tale. Richard Tebricks marries Silvia Fox and they are happy. One day whilst walking in the woods Mrs Tebricks turns into a fox. After the initial shock (on both sides!) Mr Tebricks continues to look after and care for his wife. He dismisses the servants and shoots the dogs and devotes his time to his wife. Initially little changes, his wife eats the same things, plays cards; he dresses her in altered clothes and it’s all very odd. Imperceptibly things begin to change. Mrs Tebricks becomes less comfortable with clothing, chases the ducks near the pond, her eating habits begin to change and she begins to look at their pet dove in a hungry way. All of these changes grieve Mr Tebricks who does not comprehend the growing desire to be wild, but he adapts. As time goes on, nature takes its course and the fox becomes feral and leaves the home. Mr Tebricks descends into depression, curses God and his fate and searches the countryside for his wife. His wife turns up at the door one day and leads him to an earth where she has cubs. He finds a new lease of life playing with the cubs for some months; despite inevitable jealousy about his wife having found a dog fox. Some time is also spent avoiding the local hunts and the ending is inevitable and tragic. The novella was written only seven years after Kafka’s Metamorphosis. It lends itself to many interpretations. It could be a paean to the enduring power of love; a fable with the moral being that if you love someone you must set them free; a controlled and rather straightjacketed masculinity trying to cope with a wilder untamed femininity; a tale about how convention can restrict and constrain; a warning about how relationships are never static and subject to change in one of the parties that might mean their destruction; don’t hold onto something when you know it is over. And so on. It may, of course, also be reflection on Garnett’s relationship with Duncan Grant.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynne King

    His vixen had at once sprung into Mr Tebrick’s arms, and before he could turn back the hounds were upon them, and had pulled them down. Then at that moment there was a scream of despair heard by all the field that had come up, which they declared afterwards was more like a woman’s voice than a man’s. But there was no clear proof whether it was Mr Tebrick or his wife who had suddenly regained her voice. When the huntsman who had leapt the wall got to them and had whipped off the hounds, Mr Teb His vixen had at once sprung into Mr Tebrick’s arms, and before he could turn back the hounds were upon them, and had pulled them down. Then at that moment there was a scream of despair heard by all the field that had come up, which they declared afterwards was more like a woman’s voice than a man’s. But there was no clear proof whether it was Mr Tebrick or his wife who had suddenly regained her voice. When the huntsman who had leapt the wall got to them and had whipped off the hounds, Mr Tebrick had been terribly mauled and was bleeding from twenty wounds... As soon as I saw Paul’s review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., I knew that I had to read this book. Why you may ask? Well I am an avid Bloomsbury Group lover and have been for over two decades. We are dealing with a group of individuals here who were quite unique to our life on earth, be it as novelists, painters, economists, etc. They had it all – they were avant-garde; the forerunners of our modern society today! These individuals were dreamers, romantics, they lived for the present, they saw a world that they could change and they did try. The paintings of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant continue to this effect, as do the literary works of Virginia Wolf, Lytton Strachey, the economist Maynard Keynes and the outsiders in the group such as Aldous Huxley. A world that I wish I could have been a part of. A truly golden era and one that I’m so proud that I stumbled across through a rather erudite friend. He didn’t think that I would take to all of these works but I did indeed like a duck to water. I have read so many biographies on these iconic and yet mesmerizing individuals. Never to be forgotten in fact. They lived for their beliefs, be it as conscientious objectors after the First World War but also they created a remarkable, invigorating presence that lives on today. As for this work. Well how does one interpret it? It is dedicated to David Garnett’s former lover Duncan Grant who had shared a house with Vanessa Bell for many years, in fact until her death. She knew Duncan’s sexual inclinations, was prepared to put up with it, she even had a child by him called Angelica, who subsequently married David (Bunny) Garnett. Duncan Grant being the father. All very convoluted I must confess but it appeared to suit them. The value of love has different levels with certain individuals and Vanessa was known as the mother figure, very wise and with a sister, Virginia, who had a very nervous disposition. They all got on very well indeed! I really cannot imagine why Bunny dedicated this book to Duncan. It was a very strange relationship. Bunny was heterosexual but felt sorry for Duncan and so went along with his sexual proclivities. He was also really taken with Vanessa too, even though she was older than him and so it was a rather strange relationship but everyone was (apparently) quite happy to participate in it. It was the norm for them. The love that Vanessa had for Duncan never disappeared until her death and she was prepared to put up with his infidelities. The fact that Bunny married Angelia when he prophesized many years before that he would marry her at twenty rather unnerved me, I must confess. As for the book I believe it is a tribute not only to Duncan but also to Bunny’s life with Vanessa, and latterly Angelica. The plot - Richard Tebrick had married Silvia (née Fox – bizarre) in 1879. They were recently married and all was well and then one day she was transformed into a fox in front of his eyes. Imagine that! What a shock. He cared for her as a loving husband even while she slowly transformed into a fox of the wild, eventually giving birth to five foxes in her earth and Mr Tebrick more or less adopted them even though he had met the male fox. Now that to me is true love. His favourite fox was Angelica (his future wife) and life continued in this rather odd vein. All the neighbours thought that he was quite mad as he had withdrawn so much from society. A beautiful book which resonates within one’s soul. As an added note, my delicious little hardback is a sixth impression published in 1923, after the first publication in October 1922. It makes one wonder how many copies were in each print-run? The wood engravings by R. A. Garnett are an added bonus but the true beauty of this book is that handwritten note on the frontispiece with L.M.H. which I understand stands for Lady Margaret Hall, one of the Oxford colleges. It seemed right to read that, I don’t know why! A true social document. These old books have such a sense of age about them…

  4. 5 out of 5

    J.

    Strikingly short, clear as clear water, and none of the above, all at once. Garnett's book conjures old-style fairy tales or bedtime stories, where simple elements resonate, and even the inevitable outcome is also a little confounding, a little mysterious. Short version, 1922, English dude's wife turns into a fox one day, flips him right out. In the tradition of the truly chilling ghost story, however, we're not done there. Somehow we're kept in a kind of trance, along with the protagonist, who j Strikingly short, clear as clear water, and none of the above, all at once. Garnett's book conjures old-style fairy tales or bedtime stories, where simple elements resonate, and even the inevitable outcome is also a little confounding, a little mysterious. Short version, 1922, English dude's wife turns into a fox one day, flips him right out. In the tradition of the truly chilling ghost story, however, we're not done there. Somehow we're kept in a kind of trance, along with the protagonist, who just cannot fathom what he's going to do about this soul-shattering development. But as with everything else in life as we know it, little things accompany big things, night follows day, and no crying over spilled milk. We as readers are led into the surreal assurance that a logical investigation, an explanation, will only naturally follow, and it never does. One night long into the predicament of his wife having changed, the narrator dreams that she is a human woman once again. But the price of this return is incalculable : After an hour or two the procession of confused and jumbled images which first assailed him passed away and subsided into one clear and powerful dream. His wife was with him in her own proper shape, walking as they had been on that fatal day before her transformation. Yet she was changed too, for in her face there were visible tokens of unhappiness, her face swollen with crying, pale and downcast, her hair hanging in disorder, her damp hands wringing a small handkerchief into a ball, her whole body shaken with sobs, and an air of long neglect about her person. Between her sobs, she was confessing to him some crime she had committed but he did not catch the broken words, nor did he wish to hear them, for he was dulled by his sorrow.. That the story is an allegory of anything in particular, the author disputes; that it may touch chords of fidelity and abandonment-- he will allow. Where the reader is led, on this obvious/ unsettling trail, is down the same paths as other deeply-sorrowful torch songs in literature: of Tam-Lin, whose true love must hold him fast as the witches transform him into beast, serpent and flame; of Kwaidan, where the faint touch of fingertips from the next world is always present; and of Poe's Annabel Lee, whose dark seaside spirits infuse their author with infinite, rueful sadness ... One of the simplest, saddest things I've ever read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wastrel

    It’s hard to say too much about Lady into Fox – it’s a short novella, and very simple. Indeed, I didn’t really feel that I was reading the work of an author – more just hearing an articulate, literate man tell me a story. The prose isn’t always polished – and is speckled with little oddities from the common speech of the era – and the story is straightforward and unadorned. Put bluntly, it’s about an English gentleman whose wife one day turns into a fox, and the difficulties that are posed by th It’s hard to say too much about Lady into Fox – it’s a short novella, and very simple. Indeed, I didn’t really feel that I was reading the work of an author – more just hearing an articulate, literate man tell me a story. The prose isn’t always polished – and is speckled with little oddities from the common speech of the era – and the story is straightforward and unadorned. Put bluntly, it’s about an English gentleman whose wife one day turns into a fox, and the difficulties that are posed by this unexpected turn of events. That’s a potentially rich – incredibly rich – scenario for a story, and there were many ways the story could have gone. Garnett for the most part chose the most obvious and the least memorable path. But that’s not necessarily a criticism. I was expecting a story that perhaps leant more heavily into social satire, or brought out the comic absurdities more greatly – I suppose I was thinking of how this might go if the story were by Saki, or indeed by Cabell, whose almost exactly contemporaneous own novel, Jurgen, I’ve only just read. And indeed, there is satire here, and there is absurdity, and wit. But for the most part, Garnett focuses on the pathos, and he does it through precise, transparent realism, avoiding excesses of style or content that might distract from the basic humanity at the core of his story. His style is casual, in the formal manner in which an English gentleman of the era might be casual, and despite the strikingly modern moment of surrealism at the story’s core (Lady into Fox was published only a few years after Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” was published, and long before it became famous), his approach is largely conservative. The fantasy, like most earlier but little later fantasy, is shrouded in a dislocating frame, in this case the conventional, by then perhaps even traditional, Victorian ghost story declaimer, an entire page spent stressing how the author has heard this from unimpeachable sources and is otherwise a skeptical man not prone to believing fanciful stories etc etc. This frame is made a little more personal by the fact that the author does not overtly divide himself from the narrator, happy even to identify himself by name at one point. There’s something of a newspaperman’s approach here, a plainspoken verity that has no time for artistic airs and pretences. I wonder whether even that title, the oddly curt ‘Lady into Fox’, may be intended to suggest the clipped headline of a newspaper report or magazine article. Yet despite the pretence of unpretentiousness, Lady into Fox is a piece of art, and not only because of the implausible central conceit, that of a lady transformed into a fox – and not, Garnett take pains to stress, in a believable, piece-by-piece, drawn-out, organic manner, but in a flash, as a fait accompli, the way that Gregor Samsa simply wakes up one morning to discover himself the victim of a metamorphosis. No, the true metamorphosis here is the way that what is presented as a story is really a political position paper. Of course, all stories are symbolic, particularly those involving elements of fantasy. “The Metamorphosis” is symbolic. But Lady into Fox is symbolic in a much more all-encompassing, more honest, way. It is, quite plainly, a fable, and there is no doubt here that we are to consider what may be the Moral of the Tale. It is perhaps precisely because of the author’s political intent that he so eschews overt manipulations and authorial cadenzas: he is trying to show us the case as it is, matters as they are, to point us to a conclusion – for all that he is doing so through symbols and analogy. Anything that instead called attention to the work as a work of art, or worse as a work of craft, would detract from its objective. But it’s not quite so simple. On the surface, Lady into Fox is a direct analogy for... ...the rest of the review you can read on my blog. Short version? It's a small and simple, but very attractive little fable that undisguisedly, but lightly, presents the Bloomsbury worldview, but in a way that relies on the strength of the story itself, rather than distracting from it. It's too slight to really consider a masterpiece, and it's a little roughhewn around the edges (Garnett is an articulate and literate writer, but not an exceptional stylist), but it's a beautiful book that is well worth the hour or two required to read it. [This edition bears original illustrations by the author's wife - these are pretty, but inessential]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Magical and sad. Great wood-cuts illustrate the story throughout. Yay foxes!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Isa Lavinia

    David Garnett: Picture this, a lady... turns into a fox! Isn't that the wildest thing you've ever read?! Me: *having read his bio and knowing he was sleeping with a married man, decided to be present at the birth of that man's daughter, jokingly wrote to a friend, "I think of marrying it. When she is 20, I shall be 46 – will it be scandalous?", and later on actually married her*: Not really... David Garnett: Picture this, a lady... turns into a fox! Isn't that the wildest thing you've ever read?! Me: *having read his bio and knowing he was sleeping with a married man, decided to be present at the birth of that man's daughter, jokingly wrote to a friend, "I think of marrying it. When she is 20, I shall be 46 – will it be scandalous?", and later on actually married her*: Not really...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (3.5) I accidentally did things the wrong way round: a few months back I read Sarah Hall’s Madame Zero, which includes the BBC National Short Story Prize 2013 winner “Mrs Fox,” clearly modeled on Garnett’s half-charming, half-horrible fable. In both, an upper-middle-class marriage is derailed when the wife turns into a fox. Here Mr. Tebrick sends away the servants and retreats from the world to look after Silvia, who grows increasingly feral. To start with the vixen will wear clothing, sleep in (3.5) I accidentally did things the wrong way round: a few months back I read Sarah Hall’s Madame Zero, which includes the BBC National Short Story Prize 2013 winner “Mrs Fox,” clearly modeled on Garnett’s half-charming, half-horrible fable. In both, an upper-middle-class marriage is derailed when the wife turns into a fox. Here Mr. Tebrick sends away the servants and retreats from the world to look after Silvia, who grows increasingly feral. To start with the vixen will wear clothing, sleep in a bed, play cards and eat table scraps, but soon she’s hunting birds outdoors. Before long she’s effectively a wild creature, though she still shows affection to Tebrick when he comes to visit her den. Anyone in a partnership will experience a bittersweet sense of recognition at how Tebrick and Silvia try to accommodate each other’s differences and make compromises to maintain a relationship in defiance of the world’s disapproval and danger. Beware unsentimental animal peril throughout.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    "But the strange event which I shall here relate came alone, without companions into a hostile world, and for that very reason claimed little of the general attention of mankind. For the sudden changing of Mrs. Tebrick into a vixen is an established fact which we may attempt to account for as we will." What happens when partners in a love relationship are faced with a shocking event that has no explanation or remedy? Do they continue as man and wife considering the core changes that now separate "But the strange event which I shall here relate came alone, without companions into a hostile world, and for that very reason claimed little of the general attention of mankind. For the sudden changing of Mrs. Tebrick into a vixen is an established fact which we may attempt to account for as we will." What happens when partners in a love relationship are faced with a shocking event that has no explanation or remedy? Do they continue as man and wife considering the core changes that now separate their lifestyles, preferences, and needs? Their life story, now between different species is unheard of and unbelievable. It is also dangerous. This is an engaging tale of choices, commitments, and intimacy between a man and his wife who has been transformed into a fox. Outwardly, when disorder is everywhere, can internal feelings come to rule?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    See Alfred and Wastrel's comments on my review of Lawrence's The Fox, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., for why to read this. Text on Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10337 See Alfred and Wastrel's comments on my review of Lawrence's The Fox, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., for why to read this. Text on Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10337

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amethyst Marie

    I debated my rating on this book long and hard. I eventually decided on a one-star rating in the best possible sense. Like the kind of one-star rating that will motivate me to invite my friends over to watch some wondrously terrible piece of crap on Netflix and laugh out loud through the whole thing. ****SPOILERS TO FOLLOW**** Sylvia is a ridiculously perfect heroine in the spirit of Elsie Dinsmore. She grew up in the country, so she's innocent, but she was raised by a Protestant governess, so she I debated my rating on this book long and hard. I eventually decided on a one-star rating in the best possible sense. Like the kind of one-star rating that will motivate me to invite my friends over to watch some wondrously terrible piece of crap on Netflix and laugh out loud through the whole thing. ****SPOILERS TO FOLLOW**** Sylvia is a ridiculously perfect heroine in the spirit of Elsie Dinsmore. She grew up in the country, so she's innocent, but she was raised by a Protestant governess, so she's not tomboyish and received a classical education. One day while Sylvia and her husband are out for a walk in the woods, Sylvia turns into a fox. We don't know how or why. She just does. She can't speak, but she is still sentient, still modest (she insists on wearing clothes), still pious (she makes the sign of the cross with her paws to remind her husband it's time for prayers, but she's not *Catholic* because she disapproves of playing cards on the Sabbath), and still refined and cultured (her husband plays classical music on the piano and reads books to her). The next couple of chapters go into great detail about Sylvia's husband taking care of his fox wife. Bathing her, brushing her, dressing her, making all major decisions for her because he has to do it for her own good, obvs. We're reminded that she's still more intelligent and more equal of a companion than "Oriental women" who are kept in such seclusion that they could never have the kind of conversations with their "masters" that Sylvia the nonverbal fox has with hers. (Incidentally, yes, "Civilized Western women have it so much better than savage Asian and Middle Eastern women and should be grateful" is a very old trope. I've seen it in books from the early 1800s, none of which actually have anything to do with Asia or the Middle East.) But eventually, dear Sylvia the fox-wife starts going feral. She doesn't say her prayers. She doesn't want to wear clothes. She doesn't keep the Sabbath anymore. When her magnanimous husband concedes to take her outside, she runs wherever she wants and doesn't come when she's called. She starts hunting rabbits and eating them raw which is THE WORST because omg you're supposed to cook them in between hunting and eating them! (I feel the need to state once again that THIS IS A FOX.) Her husband berates her for her savage, "hoydenish" (that means tomboyish, btw) behavior, and he gets really excited when she acts ashamed and penitent, because obviously that means she's still a woman inside. Somewhere around this point, the husband gets hammered while he and Sylvia are playing together. If you are thinking, as did I, that there's no way they'd go there, you would be wrong. So. Wrong. HE FUCKS THE FOX. Thankfully, the act is not described in explicit detail, but the morning after narration makes it abundantly clear what happened. Which is that he fucked the fox. Sylvia becomes more and more feral. Eventually she runs away, is gone for about a year, and comes back with a litter of baby foxes. Husband is delighted with this. He names and christens all of them (like, he holds a christening ceremony in the woods and sprinkle-baptizes them). Then the father fox shows up and the husband realizes, "Oh, yeah, I guess she had to fuck a fox for this to happen. WTF, that bitch cheated on me after everything I've done for her???" But then he comes to accept his metamour as part of their blended family. This acceptance is accompanied by musings about how it's impossible for animals to sin because they're innocent. They all live happily ever after until a hunt kills Sylvia. The end. I still cannot stop laughing, or saying "Dafuq did I just read? DID I ACTUALLY JUST FUCKING READ THAT??" I really hope I did, because I don't want to believe I'm capable of imagining this glorious shitshow on my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rand

    A lovely set of symbols that is perhaps best enjoyed at face-value. There's a certain elusive quality here which manages to pull the reader in many directions in turn: wonder, tragedy, farce, tedium, contentment. Also a testament that great books, having been unjustly buried, are still able to enthrall new generations of readers. I read the McSweeney's edition edited by Paul Collins and was pleased to find that another publisher has more recently chosen to reprint this one. (The more recent cover A lovely set of symbols that is perhaps best enjoyed at face-value. There's a certain elusive quality here which manages to pull the reader in many directions in turn: wonder, tragedy, farce, tedium, contentment. Also a testament that great books, having been unjustly buried, are still able to enthrall new generations of readers. I read the McSweeney's edition edited by Paul Collins and was pleased to find that another publisher has more recently chosen to reprint this one. (The more recent cover art is viewable at Vulpes Libris).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    A very odd, fairy-tale like story of a man whose wife suddenly turns into a fox on their morning walk. Initially, he takes her back to his house, dismisses all his servants, shoots his dog, and tries to keep her safe from the hunt, but as the story progresses, her foxy natures becomes more and more dominant. Complete with beautiful woodcut illustrations.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    "Here we have something very different. A grown lady is changed straightway into a fox. There is no explaining that away by natural philosophy. The materialism of our age will not help us here." "Here we have something very different. A grown lady is changed straightway into a fox. There is no explaining that away by natural philosophy. The materialism of our age will not help us here."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily M

    I’m not prone to going and looking up the lives of authors, but something about this brief novella seemed to encourage it. An allegorical fantasy, but of what, exactly? A man whose wife turns into a fox, and who continues to love her as she grows progressively more wild. An early twentieth century man who comes to terms with becoming a housewife of sorts, to a fox. Who is able to look past infidelity and raise another man’s (fox’s) cubs. There had to be a good story here. Well, for a start, the s I’m not prone to going and looking up the lives of authors, but something about this brief novella seemed to encourage it. An allegorical fantasy, but of what, exactly? A man whose wife turns into a fox, and who continues to love her as she grows progressively more wild. An early twentieth century man who comes to terms with becoming a housewife of sorts, to a fox. Who is able to look past infidelity and raise another man’s (fox’s) cubs. There had to be a good story here. Well, for a start, the story itself is good. It is as long as it needs to be, and no longer. It is accompanied by pretty woodcut illustrations by the author’s (non-fox) wife. It is engagingly written. A few years ago I noticed how well all the early twentieth century writers write, and since then I haven’t been able to un-notice it. I imagine it’s because they were writing letters all day long; they were constantly in practice. So this was an effortless four stars for me anyway. But then there’s the author’s story. A Bloomsbury member and unreformed womanizer, who wonders mildly why his wife seemed unhappy! Upon observing the newborn daughter of his former male lover (illegitimate and unacknowledged, adopted by the woman’s husband) he thinks it might be nice to marry her when she’s old enough. And then he does, despite a 25-year age gap. That woman’s name was Angelica, and one of the fox cubs in this story is also called Angelica (his future wife would have been four when this was published). Hmmm, curiouser and curiouser. I’m not prepared to do the kind of research to get to the bottom of this allegory, if there is a bottom to be gotten to, but even the hint of the man’s life story added a nice frisson to the experience.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    David Garnett’s 1922 novella is modern (dash of Kafka!) folktale, rich in sentiment and in prose style, and always highly readable. This is a strange but simply-told story about a newly married man whose wife suddenly and inexplicable transforms into a fox, and about the long period of heartbreak he experiences in accepting this change and giving her up to the wild. It is a surprisingly touching story and a fine book for reading aloud. Quiet, melancholy, tragic. The Collins Library edition has a David Garnett’s 1922 novella is modern (dash of Kafka!) folktale, rich in sentiment and in prose style, and always highly readable. This is a strange but simply-told story about a newly married man whose wife suddenly and inexplicable transforms into a fox, and about the long period of heartbreak he experiences in accepting this change and giving her up to the wild. It is a surprisingly touching story and a fine book for reading aloud. Quiet, melancholy, tragic. The Collins Library edition has a nice, short forward. However, this shouldn't be read before finishing the book--it will influence one's reading of the book as a strong metaphor. [2nd reading: October 2021]

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Deceptively simple, beautiful. I didn't realize how much it affected me until I told my spouse the plot and started crying. Found this in one of the many wonderful bookshops in St. Andrews. I'm trying to think of a way to put this on a syllabus soon. It could pair well Ovid's _Metamorphosis_ or Swift's _Gulliver's Travels_ with Coetzee's _Lives of Animals_. NB: I read the Hesperus edition with John Burnside's forward, which has a much prettier cover than what I'm seeing now on Goodreads. Deceptively simple, beautiful. I didn't realize how much it affected me until I told my spouse the plot and started crying. Found this in one of the many wonderful bookshops in St. Andrews. I'm trying to think of a way to put this on a syllabus soon. It could pair well Ovid's _Metamorphosis_ or Swift's _Gulliver's Travels_ with Coetzee's _Lives of Animals_. NB: I read the Hesperus edition with John Burnside's forward, which has a much prettier cover than what I'm seeing now on Goodreads.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    David Garnett's debut novel about a woman who turns into a fox and her husband's troubles in dealing with her transformation. The dialogue that the husband has about how to deal with this is meant to mirror that of the people dealing with loved ones who were traumatized and changed by WWII. David Garnett's debut novel about a woman who turns into a fox and her husband's troubles in dealing with her transformation. The dialogue that the husband has about how to deal with this is meant to mirror that of the people dealing with loved ones who were traumatized and changed by WWII.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gijs Grob

    'Lady into Fox' shares a premise with Franz Kafka's 'Die Verwandlung' in that a person suddenly changes into an animal. The big difference with Kafka, however, is that in this case the lady, who changes into a fox, has a loving husband. But will his love last now his wife has changed? And how will they manage in a fox hunt loving country? 'Lady into Fox' is a gentle short tale about what it means to love. Unfortunately, some aspects of Garnett's writing style prevent it of becoming a timeless cla 'Lady into Fox' shares a premise with Franz Kafka's 'Die Verwandlung' in that a person suddenly changes into an animal. The big difference with Kafka, however, is that in this case the lady, who changes into a fox, has a loving husband. But will his love last now his wife has changed? And how will they manage in a fox hunt loving country? 'Lady into Fox' is a gentle short tale about what it means to love. Unfortunately, some aspects of Garnett's writing style prevent it of becoming a timeless classic: his tale is too clearly written for a London audience, there are a few anti-catholic sentences, and there's quite an unnecessary mention of God. This edition is a reprint of the original publication, with the original lettering, and charming woodcuts by his own wife.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    short novella about a woman who turns into a fox, and her husband's attempts to keep her safe (he shoots dogs and buries them, chases after foxhunts etc.) and treat her like his wife as far as he can (dresses her at first for example, buys her grapes), but nature takes over. Well written, to the point, very nice woodcut illustrations. Odd, memorable. short novella about a woman who turns into a fox, and her husband's attempts to keep her safe (he shoots dogs and buries them, chases after foxhunts etc.) and treat her like his wife as far as he can (dresses her at first for example, buys her grapes), but nature takes over. Well written, to the point, very nice woodcut illustrations. Odd, memorable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    2.5 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    What a charming, terrible, and peculiar little book this is. Published in 1922, Lady into Fox feels like a parable or fairy tale, and not a Disney-fied fairy tale but a traditional fairy tale, where gruesome things happen and peril is real. And author, David Garnett, is clearly conveying allegorical or subtextual meaning to his readers. The novella begins as Mr. and Mrs. Tebrick, young newlyweds are out for a walk, when suddenly and mysteriously Mrs. Tebrick turns into a fox. The entire plot ess What a charming, terrible, and peculiar little book this is. Published in 1922, Lady into Fox feels like a parable or fairy tale, and not a Disney-fied fairy tale but a traditional fairy tale, where gruesome things happen and peril is real. And author, David Garnett, is clearly conveying allegorical or subtextual meaning to his readers. The novella begins as Mr. and Mrs. Tebrick, young newlyweds are out for a walk, when suddenly and mysteriously Mrs. Tebrick turns into a fox. The entire plot essentially concerns Mr. Tebrick coming to terms with the changes this wreaks upon his wife and their relationship. At first she seems to remember herself as a human; eating human food, playing cards, sleeping in her bed. But slowly, Mrs. Tebrick behaves more like the wild fox she appears to be, and Mr. Tebrick must contend with her desire for freedom at the cost of safety. (It’s worth noting the novel takes place in the English countryside, where fox hunting is a thing.) He attempts to keep her indoors. He even shoots his own dogs so that they won’t harm his vixen, as he calls her. But the more of a fox she becomes internally, the more oppressive this protection is for Silvia Tebrick, finally culminating in her escape from her former home and into the countryside, where Mr. Tebrick must reinvent (or choose not to reinvent) his relationship with her as a wild creature. We follow Mr. Tebrick’s grief and soul-searching as he struggles to accept (or to not accept) each new change affecting his wife. I feel like I’d be a poor sport to include spoilers, because I enjoyed reading this so much myself having little clue where it would end up. I will only add that, as slim a volume as Lady into Fox is, it contains considerable psychological depth and emotional potency. It’s more than worth the light time investment required to read it. And the woodcut illustrations are cool.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Abbey

    BOTTOM LINE: Whimsical, slow-moving old-fashioned creepy story that I might enjoy at another time. This was another of those classic ScienceFiction/Fantasy novels/stories that I hadn't yet read but was highly looking forward to. Written in 1922, it's considered to be an extremely famous/special story in the history of SFF writing, and I'm currently attempting to fill in a few of the gaps in my reading history. There are very few true "classics!" of the genre that I haven't read, actually, so ope BOTTOM LINE: Whimsical, slow-moving old-fashioned creepy story that I might enjoy at another time. This was another of those classic ScienceFiction/Fantasy novels/stories that I hadn't yet read but was highly looking forward to. Written in 1922, it's considered to be an extremely famous/special story in the history of SFF writing, and I'm currently attempting to fill in a few of the gaps in my reading history. There are very few true "classics!" of the genre that I haven't read, actually, so opening up one is always a bit of a treat, even if it doesn't really work out for me, as in this case. The title tells almost the entire story - a sweet young thing, newly married, living in an isolated cottage with her adoring husband in the late 1800s one day suddenly turns into a fox. The complications that ensue are at first fairly pragmatic and understandable, and watching her slowly change her internal nature to conform with her new outer body is an interesting process, as is the increasing despair of her loving husband and then his frustration as well. It's my understanding that further along in the story than I was able to go, the plot becomes even more peculiar, and raises more and more interesting metaphysical and emotional issues, but I, frankly, became bored half-way through, finally giving up without finishing. I simply didn't care what happened to the lady or her long-suffering, pedantic and wuss-y husband, alas. Usually this sort of wry fable is one of my favorites and, as much of my reading is usually from this period (1920s) the style of writing (slow, meandering) usually doesn't bother me - I often enjoy that sort of thing. In this case, however, it just didn't "work" for me. Your mileage may differ...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lee Broderick

    It is, perhaps, easy to see Lady into Fox simply as a modern day fairytale. A whimsical fantasy from the early twentieth century. To do so though, would be to ignore the praise and attention that the tale won on its publication and since. A simple fairytale, surely, would not win the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In fact, David Garnett uses humour, fantasy, allegory and realism to explore pain, passion, conjugal fidelity, love, death and, as Douglas Adams once famously wrote, 'everything' It is, perhaps, easy to see Lady into Fox simply as a modern day fairytale. A whimsical fantasy from the early twentieth century. To do so though, would be to ignore the praise and attention that the tale won on its publication and since. A simple fairytale, surely, would not win the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In fact, David Garnett uses humour, fantasy, allegory and realism to explore pain, passion, conjugal fidelity, love, death and, as Douglas Adams once famously wrote, 'everything'. No small achievement in a novella of fewer than one hundred pages. Beautifully illustrated with woodcuts, Virginia Woolf's nephew charts the experiences and emotions of a man whose wife is not lost but changed, both suddenly and gradually. Those experiences are harrowing and the story is by no means a cheery one. It is, however, one well worth reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. [image error] Re-read details - yay! one of my favorite magical-realism stories has been made over by my favorite medium, BBC. The details: Mr Tebrick is surprised by his wife Silvia's new habits after her sudden transformation into a vixen. Read by Ben Broadcast on: BBC Radio 7 http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/... ----------- Opening line: Wonderful or supernatural events are not so uncommon, rather they are irregular in their incidence. [image error] Re-read details - yay! one of my favorite magical-realism stories has been made over by my favorite medium, BBC. The details: Mr Tebrick is surprised by his wife Silvia's new habits after her sudden transformation into a vixen. Read by Ben Broadcast on: BBC Radio 7 http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/... ----------- Opening line: Wonderful or supernatural events are not so uncommon, rather they are irregular in their incidence.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Lambert-Maberly

    A very strange little book, but I had tears in my eyes when it was over—it's a weird, sad story. A lady becomes a fox—just like that—and though nobody witnesses it (her husband was looking away at the instant), the change is immediate, and the fox can understand English and play cards, so we accept it as truth. It is told from a narrator's opinion of the husband's point of view, as he copes with a wife who is a fox, and as the story unfolds, a wife who increasingly becomes foxlike. My mother (who A very strange little book, but I had tears in my eyes when it was over—it's a weird, sad story. A lady becomes a fox—just like that—and though nobody witnesses it (her husband was looking away at the instant), the change is immediate, and the fox can understand English and play cards, so we accept it as truth. It is told from a narrator's opinion of the husband's point of view, as he copes with a wife who is a fox, and as the story unfolds, a wife who increasingly becomes foxlike. My mother (who is keen to ask me what the theme or message of a book was, thinking that's something they all must have, based on her chosen diet of books) would probably like this one. I suspect there's a theme or message there for the taking. I try not to worry about such things. But it held my interest, got extra points for being utterly strange, I felt the author played fair given the premise, and it moved me. It's freely available at Project Gutenberg, with the original illustrations—I finally broke down and learned how to download-and-transfer-to-Kindle, so I could read this in bed, and it couldn't have been easier once I identified my Kindle folder! Luddites, give it a try. (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Esmé Boom

    4,5. Loved this. I've laughed out loud and also sometimes softly cried out 'oh no!'. I really felt for Silvia and her Mr. Tebrick. I've read a gorgeous edition with wood engravings by R.A. Garnett, which really added to the overal experience. I found myself staring at the fox Silvia, trying to grasp her emotions. A very quirky novella, tender and harsh at the same time, some passages written lovingly, some feeling judgemental. This feels like a classic, although it also feels a little dated in s 4,5. Loved this. I've laughed out loud and also sometimes softly cried out 'oh no!'. I really felt for Silvia and her Mr. Tebrick. I've read a gorgeous edition with wood engravings by R.A. Garnett, which really added to the overal experience. I found myself staring at the fox Silvia, trying to grasp her emotions. A very quirky novella, tender and harsh at the same time, some passages written lovingly, some feeling judgemental. This feels like a classic, although it also feels a little dated in some spots. I'm really curious about recent translations and if passages have been changed a bit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Peter Stone

    This is an extraordinary book written in 1922. It is a very short novel but unlike anything else I've ever read. It's about a happily married young couple who only disagree about one thing, fox hunting. One day the wife refuses to get involved any further, she sits down - and turns into a fox. What happens next is heart-warming, ridiculous, sad, crazy, improbable and - eventually - startling. It won't take you long to read. This is an extraordinary book written in 1922. It is a very short novel but unlike anything else I've ever read. It's about a happily married young couple who only disagree about one thing, fox hunting. One day the wife refuses to get involved any further, she sits down - and turns into a fox. What happens next is heart-warming, ridiculous, sad, crazy, improbable and - eventually - startling. It won't take you long to read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fedde Hopmans

    A well written tale. This book really makes you think about human relationships and what it means. As for the plot, nothing too special happens. Still, the main premise of the book carries it enough to make it work.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jorge

    Strange! Very Strange! However, this story follows a long tradition going back to Ovid. I don't think we should read much meaning and look for deep explanations and intention by the author. This is just a fable about relationship and love. Strange! Very Strange! However, this story follows a long tradition going back to Ovid. I don't think we should read much meaning and look for deep explanations and intention by the author. This is just a fable about relationship and love.

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