My gosh, what an odd short story this was. I had previously read The Forester’s Daughter by Claire Keegan and The Shielding of Mrs Forbes by Alan Bennett from this Faber Stories collection and loved them both, so I was expecting great things from the next one I picked up…
So where to start? This is a story about a woman who transforms into a fox and leaves her previous life behind. Her husband tries to keep her in the house but she wants to be outside. He visits her den often and discovers she has had cubs. He feels oddly protective of them but otherwise continues his life as per before.
I found the story rather bizarre and struggled to understand what the author was trying to get across. Was the whole transformation into a fox symbolising that a woman should never be trapped and if she wants to grow/out grow her husband that she should be allowed to? … And that when she does shed her old life, you’ll see a woman that’s transformed and happier?
Or perhaps, was it symbolising something similar but from the opposite view point, i.e. in order to accept his wife leaving him, does the husband need to soften his pain by imagining the transformation?
OR… is it as simple as Hall just chose to write about a woman transforming into a fox?
AND – was she pregnant before the transformation, i.e. are the cubs in fact the husband’s children?
It’s got me flummoxed. I’m no closer to understanding this story BUT oddly I didn’t hate it. In fact, I was utterly enchanted by the story from the very first sentence to the final one. Hall’s writing style is absorbing & atmospheric, with the short sentences making your eyes race along through it all.
So despite my confusion on what the message (Keith Lemon moment – anyone?!) of this story was, I did find it enjoyable.
Oh and FYI, the first few pages are a little saucy… just putting that out there!
Mrs Fox is part of Faber Stories spring 2019 collection from Faber & Faber, you can pick up the paperback version or download it as an eVersion.
Until next time, Chloé x