(US / UK Links)
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi was released in 2011 and somehow it escaped my radar as a Bluebeard / Mr Fox retelling. Her books fall more into the "high literature" category of marketing which usually means they are harder to detect as fairy tale retellings. Hence I missed it for two years! And wow, that UK paperback cover is rather tragic. It had the same covers in hardcover in both regions.
(US / UK Links)
Oyeyemi has a new fairy tale inspired novel coming out next month, Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel, which draws quite deliberately and uniquely from Snow White. But I'll post more about it closer to its release date. But for once the US won on the best cover of a hardcover. Much better than the UK cover, unless you have a snake phobia.
Book description for Mr Fox:
Winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction
One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists
From a prizewinning young writer, a brilliant and inventive story of love, lies, and inspiration.
Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don't get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can't stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It's not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.
Mary challenges Mr. Fox to join her in stories of their own devising; and in different times and places, the two of them seek each other, find each other, thwart each other, and try to stay together, even when the roles they inhabit seem to forbid it. Their adventures twist the fairy tale into nine variations, exploding and teasing conventions of genre and romance, and each iteration explores the fears that come with accepting a lifelong bond. Meanwhile, Daphne becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, and finds her way into Mary and Mr. Fox's game. And so Mr. Fox is offered a choice: Will it be a life with the girl of his dreams, or a life with an all-too-real woman who delights him more than he cares to admit?
The extraordinarily gifted Helen Oyeyemi has written a love story like no other. Mr. Fox is a magical book, endlessly inventive, as witty and charming as it is profound in its truths about how we learn to be with one another.