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The Fox Woman Paperback – February 3, 2001
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The Fox Woman is a powerful first novel, singing with lyrical prose and touching the deepest emotions. A historically accurate fantasy, it gives us a glimpse into, and an understanding of, the history that shaped the people of one of our world's greatest nations.
But it is also a story about people trying to understand each other and the times they live in, people trying to see through illusions to confront the truth of who they are.
Kij Johnson has created an achingly beautiful love story, a fable wrapped in smoke and magic set against the fabric of ancient Japan. Johnson brings the setting lovingly to life, describing a world of formalities and customs, where the exchange of poetry is a form of conversation and everything has meaning, from the color of the silks on wears to how one may address others.
Yoshifuji is a man fascinated by foxes, a man discontented and troubled by the meaning of life. A misstep at court forces him to retire to his long-deserted country estate, to rethink his plans and contemplate the next move that might return him to favor and guarantee his family's prosperity.
Kitsune is a young fox who is fascinated by the large creatures that have suddenly invaded her world. She is drawn to them and to Yoshifuji. She comes to love him and will do anything to become a human woman to be with him.
Shikujo is Yoshifuji's wife, ashamed of her husband, yet in love with him and uncertain of her role in his world. She is confused by his fascination with the creatures of the wood, and especially the foxes that she knows in her heart are harbingers of danger. She sees him slipping away and is determined to win him back from the wild...for all that she has her own fox-related secret.
Magic binds them all. And in the making (and breaking) of oaths and honors, the patterns of their lives will be changed forever.
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“The Fox Woman is a wonderfully evocative and gripping novel, a book that will stay with you and resonate in your heart long after the final page is turned.” ―Charles de Lint
“The Fox Woman is a magnificent book, powerfully and profoundly moving, in its moods and atmosphere, utterly magical, a genuine and unique work of high art. And all of this expressed through language that is elegant, economical, graceful. The Fox Woman immediately sets the author in the front rank of today's novelists.” ―Lloyd Alexander
“If you want lush prose, romantic settings, and a poetry-of-the-soul book, run--do not walk--to get this. God, I wish I had written it!” ―Jane Yolen
“Kij Johnson reminds us that the magic (and strength) of Fantasy is seeing ourselves in the mirror of the Other. Never has that mirror shimmered more seductively. Look.” ―Terry Bisson
“Lush, vivid, and charming, The Fox Woman is a beautifully written and poignant fable unlike any other fantasy I have ever read.” ―Kevin J. Anderson
“I enjoyed presenting to Kij Johnson the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for her short story 'The Fox Woman,' but I enjoyed even more reading the novel she has created around the Japanese myth of the fox who falls in love with a nobleman and becomes a woman. It is wise, witty, and wonderful.” ―James Gunn
About the Author
- Publisher : Tor Books; First edition (February 3, 2001)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312875592
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312875596
- Item Weight : 11.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.85 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,981,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from the United States
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When Kaya No Yoshifuji and his family move to the capital, it upsets two sets of lives, those of his family and those of the family of foxes that have been living underneath the unused country house. Kitsune, the fox, looks on these strangers with a sense of longing and wonder, unable to understand their human ways. Soon her obsession reflects in Yoshifuji, who becomes obsessed with the foxes living near his home. As Kitsune's obsession grows, she falls in love with Yoshifuji and seeks to use fox-magic to transform herself into a woman to obtain his love.
Woven into the story is a wonderful collection of poetry. Yoshifuji and his wife trade poems in a custom that is difficult for Kitsune to understand. So it may also be for the readers of fantasy who are not well-versed in reading poetry. Yet, readers should neither ignore nor underestimate these lines. The simple words are beautiful, as the poem that Yoshifuji writes on the surface of a fan his wife left behind: "The spider's web can catch the moonlight, / but cannot keep it."
The poetry is an intricate part of the novel, not only for its beauty but also for its importance within the story. Yet, it is not only the poetry within the novel that keeps the reader entranced, but the poetry of the novel. The lives of the characters are reflected in the seasons, their surroundings, and even in the spider web that Yoshifuji refuses to have swept away from his room. The novel reminds the reader of the poetry of life, and the beauty that exists in all things.
Kij Johnson does a masterful job of writing a fantasy story that is a love story, a fable, and a poem. As her first novel, it is a wonderful promise of things to come.
I had found this book when searching for fox and other mythological and magical animal tales on a whim. I read a few passages from the sample; and fell in love with reading for the first time in a very long time. Much of my reading material at the time were text books that thus added to the dry and gray world that I was trudging through during the last year of college. The Fox Woman painted a beautiful world through poetic writing that I had not seen from any other book I have ever read. This book, to me at least, held the elegant mysticism I was looking for.
Did anyone check this before charging folks for it? The kindle version is rife with misspellings and bad formatting. Frequently the letter "S" is replaced with the letter "D" making words seem absolutely ridiculous, the characters seem like they have odd speaking patterns, and in some cases, you have to think a minute before realizing that it was a mistake. This occurs throughout the book and so frequently I'd be surprised anyone even checked it before approving it for sale.
Seriously, fix it or charge less, it's really distracting and I feel stupid for paying for a shoddy epub job.
Top reviews from other countries
I never look at the back pages of a book before I read it like some, and so it came as a surprise to me, after finishing the book and reading the 'Author's Note' that this story is in fact based upon an old Japanese Fairytale.
It is extremely ambiguous as to whether it is real or fantasy: (from the perspective of the main characters of course) Is the Fox dreaming - the man - or indeed both, as Fox becomes 'woman' - and man becomes 'Fox'... It's an interesting concept about 'escapism' and fantasy - you won't find anything quite like it! The translation is good, the quality of the edition too and with an attractive cover - all you could want!
Leider wurde der Eindruck durch die übermässigen Fehler in der Kindle-Ausgabe sehr geschwächt. Es scheinen hauptsächlich Flüchtigkeitsfehler zu sein (d statt s oder ll statt h), aber das genügte, um mich wieder und wieder aus der Immersion zu werfen.
Wer das Buch kaufen will, sollte die Papierausgabe nehmen, die anscheinend fehlerfrei ist. Zumindest gibt es bei den anderen Rezensionen keine entsprechenden Hinweise.