The Fox Woman

By Kij Johnson

The American Book Center in Amsterdam is a great shop. They have lots and lots and lots of books. There SF and Fantasy shelves are so packed that it becomes almost impossible to find anything amidst the trilogies and other polylologies. And they’re not too expensive, if you buy one of then ten-percent-off cards. Without one of those cards they are more expensive than W.H. Smith, also in Amsterdam. But, and this is important, so follow me closely, they also have two big bookcases with second-hand and ramsj fantasy and sf books. Better and cheaper than the English Book Exchange, also in Amsterdam, which is in itself a pretty nifty place. So, in preparation for the before-mentioned holiday to Greece, I went to the American Discount, and bought books.

  • Author: Kij Johnson
  • Title: The Fox Woman
  • Pages: 382
  • Published: 2000
  • Publisher: Tor
  • ISBN: 0312875592

Because they were so cheap — around the one/two euro mark, I bought a bunch of books I’d never have bought otherwise. One of these was The Fox Woman by a certain Kij Johnson. (You might have noticed that the authors name above is a link. If you click on it, you are instantly transported to her homepage and won’t be able to read the rest of this notice. Be warned by all means to not read her ‘journal’. Gosh, she’s a whiner. That someone who has written a book like The Fox Woman can also write utter dross like that journal of hers and dare publish it on the Internet. It defies comprehension.)

Er, right. I think I’ve already given my opinion of this book. But to restate: The Fox Woman, a story about a fox who falls in love with a Japanese nobleman, is wonderful. The writing is a pleasure to gape at, let alone read. The book is structured as an interleaving diary, and it’s so well-done that the different voices (fox, man and his wife) are apparent from the text. You don’t need the headings, even. The attention to cultural detail is meticulous. The relations between the various protagonists stays interesting. The sorcery involved is both horrifying and fascinating.

I’ll investigate the rest of her work; but I’ll check before buying that they are in the vein of The Fox Woman, and not that of her web-page…