Review: Mr. Fox – Helen Oyeyemi

Book cover: A woman wearing a white bow tie, a while shirt and a suit jacket looks down.

Mr. Fox was recommended to me by Not Chai-Tea. I chose to read it because the blurb sounded very interesting. Part of the story takes place in non-Western countries and some of the minor characters are POC. I consider this book diverse, because the author is a black British woman, and I support all stories that marginalised people want to tell.

While posting on Twitter, I realised the the book cover features a woman in a bow tie, which I find absolutely awesome!

The Good

I loved most of the stories and thought they were great adaptations of old fairytales and fables. The writing was engaging.

The most interesting and beautiful story was some foxes. I was rather disappointed when I read the sentence “But you are tired of hearing about foxes now, so I won’t go on.”, since I wasn’t tired and I very much wanted it to go on. I also liked the stories hide, seek and my daughter the racist. The former deals with two possible lovers never meeting, and the latter deals with a mother and her daughter becoming too friendly with a soldier.

The main story of Mr. Fox, Daphne Fox and Mary Foxe is set in the 1930s. The story is accurately influenced (to my knowledge) by the time.

The Bad

I didn’t understand how the stories fit to each other and it took me some time to realise that they won’t fit. It was quite confusing for me as the characters of Mr. Fox, Daphne Fox and Mary Foxe were constant, and would reappear after a story or in a story but the other characters didn’t. I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t anymore.

Daphne Fox describes the fictional idea of a character as exotic-looking, and states that she may be dark-skinned and_or an Indian –  as the book is not set in modern time, this type of language is understandable. However, I still want to mention it.

You have to really concentrate while reading this book, or you’ll just end up confused.

All in all

I would recommending reading this book as a collection of short stories. It’s rather confusing if you try to figure out how the different stories relate to each other. The book didn’t quite fit to me.

However, I was very entertained by Helen Oyeyemi’s writing. Hence, this book has not discouraged me from getting Boy, Snow, Bird: a modern retelling of Snow White.

3 stars

Have you read this book? Do you have any book recommendations that feature a woman wearing a bow tie on the cover or in the book?


6 thoughts on “Review: Mr. Fox – Helen Oyeyemi

  1. This book is so great. I loved it, how feminist it is. I too found it really confusing, but as I’d read some of her other stuff I was somewhat prepared. If you haven’t yet red it, I’d like to recommend White is For Witching. It’s more obviously “diverse,” somewhat easier to follow, and really…Spooky.


  2. I’m convinced that I need the cover with the bowtie now. I enjoyed Oyeyemi’s collection – What Is Not Yours is Not Yours – which might have clearer links between stories but will also check out this one.


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