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Lady into Fox

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  421 ratings  ·  64 reviews

The Tebricks, a charming and upstanding young couple, have moved to Oxfordshire to begin their married life, happily unaware of the future awaiting them. When Sylvia turns suddenly into a fox their fortunes are changed forever, despite all of her strenuous attempts to adhere to the proprieties of her upbringing and resist the feral instincts of her current form. Increasing
Hardcover, 78 pages
Published January 2nd 2004 by McSweeney's (first published 1922)
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A Room with a View by E.M. ForsterHowards End by E.M. ForsterA Passage to India by E.M. ForsterA Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfMrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
14th out of 106 books — 25 voters
The Road by Cormac McCarthyMidnight's Children by Salman RushdieWhite Teeth by Zadie SmithA Passage to India by E.M. ForsterThe Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction
28th out of 103 books — 29 voters

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Community Reviews

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A very odd little novella. It was written by David Garnett, part of the Bloomsbury scene as a result of his affair with Duncan Grant. It was written in 1922 after they had broken up and was dedicated to Grant. It won the James Tait Black prize and the Hawthornden prize. The woodcuts in the original were by Garnett’s then wife Rachel. Later in life Garnett married Angelica Bell, daughter of Vanessa Bell.
The story is a simple one; a fable or fairy tale. Richard Tebricks marries Silvia Fox and the
Only the son of that dirty whore Constance Garnett could write a book so good yet so wrong at the same time.

Its allegorical message was, at times, telling my own story. I felt as though he knew women. The more I read the more I felt connected to everything he was saying. He knew. He knew women and he had it right. I started envying the relationship he must have with his wife. He knew. Not only was he describing every relationship I have ever had with men but he knew what it felt like to be me i
Lynne King
His vixen had at once sprung into Mr Tebrick’s arms, and before he could turn back the hounds were upon them, and had pulled them down. Then at that moment there was a scream of despair heard by all the field that had come up, which they declared afterwards was more like a woman’s voice than a man’s. But there was no clear proof whether it was Mr Tebrick or his wife who had suddenly regained her voice. When the huntsman who had leapt the wall got to them and had whipped off the hounds, Mr Tebri ...more
Magical and sad. Great wood-cuts illustrate the story throughout. Yay foxes!!
Strikingly short, clear as clear water, and none of the above, all at once. Garnett's book conjures old-style fairy tales or bedtime stories, where simple elements resonate, and even the inevitable outcome is also a little confounding, a little mysterious.

Short version, 1922, English dude's wife turns into a fox one day, flips him right out.

In the tradition of the truly chilling ghost story, however, we're not done there. Somehow we're kept in a kind of trance, along with the protagonist, who j
David Garnett's debut novel about a woman who turns into a fox and her husband's troubles in dealing with her transformation. The dialogue that the husband has about how to deal with this is meant to mirror that of the people dealing with loved ones who were traumatized and changed by WWII.
Aug 11, 2009 Miriam rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Miriam by: Deborah Boliver Boehm
Shelves: fantasy
"Here we have something very different. A grown lady is changed straightway into a fox. There is no explaining that away by natural philosophy. The materialism of our age will not help us here."
Lee Broderick
It is, perhaps, easy to see Lady into Fox simply as a modern day fairytale. A whimsical fantasy from the early twentieth century. To do so though, would be to ignore the praise and attention that the tale won on its publication and since. A simple fairytale, surely, would not win the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In fact, David Garnett uses humour, fantasy, allegory and realism to explore pain, passion, conjugal fidelity, love, death and, as Douglas Adams once famously wrote, 'everything'. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
BOTTOM LINE: Whimsical, slow-moving old-fashioned creepy story that I might enjoy at another time.

This was another of those classic ScienceFiction/Fantasy novels/stories that I hadn't yet read but was highly looking forward to. Written in 1922, it's considered to be an extremely famous/special story in the history of SFF writing, and I'm currently attempting to fill in a few of the gaps in my reading history. There are very few true "classics!" of the genre that I haven't read, actually, so ope
A lovely set of symbols that is perhaps best enjoyed at face-value.

There's a certain elusive quality here which manages to pull the reader in many directions in turn: wonder, tragedy, farce, tedium, contentment.

Also a testament that great books, having been unjustly buried, are still able to enthrall new generations of readers. I read the McSweeney's edition edited by Paul Collins and was pleased to find that another publisher has more recently chosen to reprint this one. (The more recent cover
David Garnett’s 1922 novella is modern folktale, rich in sentiment and in prose style, and always highly readable. This is a strange but simple-told story about a newly married man whose wife suddenly and inexplicable transforms into a fox, and about the long period of heartbreak he experiences in accepting this change and giving her up to the wild. It is a surprisingly touching story and a fine book for reading aloud.
[Partway into Brideshead Revisted, the narrator is in Sebastian's room waiting for him and finds this book and reads it while he waits. Although I like to follow references like this one, in Lady the main character read Clarissa (Samuel Richardson) to the Fox, but that might be a little heavy right now.:]
I am personally rather a fan of allegory. There is little dialog; everything is dependent on the narrator, who has, he tells us, sorted out the truth from "all floating rumor and village gossip.
Deceptively simple, beautiful. I didn't realize how much it affected me until I told my spouse the plot and started crying. Found this in one of the many wonderful bookshops in St. Andrews. I'm trying to think of a way to put this on a syllabus soon. It could pair well Ovid's _Metamorphosis_ or Swift's _Gulliver's Travels_ with Coetzee's _Lives of Animals_.

NB: I read the Hesperus edition with John Burnside's forward, which has a much prettier cover than what I'm seeing now on Goodreads.

Jul 24, 2010 Hol added it
Bizarre little gem from 1923 about a genteel woman who, abruptly and without warning, one day turns into a fox. Reading it was like witnessing someone else's dream: I felt I lacked the ability to interpret the imagery. Wild, in both senses of the word.
Jan 23, 2008 Lily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: prim and proper people
Fabulously starched collar fairy tale about the wild sovereignty of the feminine as it eludes the rational linearity of the masculine, and the transformational power of love.
Jul 13, 2009 Joseph rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fict
Guy meets girl.
Girl turns into fox.
Guy loves fox.
Fox meets male-fox.
Guy finds fox family.
Guy depressed.
The end.
incredible. unlike anything i've ever read, an absolutely perfect look at physicality, love, and the changing of both.
What a profoundly odd little book. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I'm impressed by it.
**** Goodreads giveaway winner****
You never know what kind of book you may end up winning. Some are great, some are terrible, some are from big publishing houses and some are self published. This one is a 2013 republication of a novella originally published in 1922. FYI you read it for free on the Project Gutenberg site:

Lady into Fox is a true fairy tale with all of the dichotomies, allegories, warnings and truth a reader is used to encountering. So many
Eleanor Toland
The story of marriage between a human and a shape-shifter is an ancient one, dating back to Greek myth and probably neolithic times, echoed in Beauty and the Beast and all those fables of selkies and kitsune.Lady into Fox, David Garnett's short but powerful novella, transports the 'animal spouse' motif into upper-class 1920s England. It is notable for its arch, witty writing style and the unusual psychological depth with which the fantasy elements are handled.

Richard Tebrick persuades his new w
Austen to Zafón
At less than 100 pages, Lady into Fox is a tightly written novella in the tradition of the Gothic supernatural tales of Walpole and Poe. As is typical, the narrator explains that you'll hardly believe it, but it's really true: "For the sudden changing of Mrs. Tebrick into a vixen is an established fact which we may attempt to account for as we will...but here I will confine myself to an exact narrative of the event and all that followed on it...The sprouting of a tail, the gradual extension of h ...more
Raül De Tena
El gran mal de la literatura moderna es, sin lugar a dudas, la ultra sofisticación de su forma. La imposición de la Gran Novela Americana (mamotreto de más de mil páginas con predilección por la estructura de novel río, con enormes flash-backs historicistas y con vocación alarmante de Pulitzer) sólo ha peligrado en los últimos momentos ante el hermetismo de la narrativa fragmentada postmoderna (es decir: Pynchon, secuaces y herederos indeseados)… Entre unos y otros parece que se han llevado por ...more
Sam Kabo Ashwell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Sylvia Fox and Richard Tebrick have both been raised as upper-class British citizens living in remote Oxfordshire houses. Sylvia's uncle worries that she has married Mr. Tebrick because he is the first man she ever met. But Mr. and Mrs. Tebrick are a happy couple, living quietly, enjoying one another and the countryside. Then Sylvia, while out walking with her husband one autumn day, turns into a fox.

True to his class and upbringing, Richard accepts this transformation stoically and with concern
darling & sweetly sad fantasy about a lady who turns (gasp!) into a fox. the main character is really the fox-woman's husband, who spends the short novel approaching & dismissing & ignoring & drowning in all manner of suffering &torment faced with the growing inaccessibility of the object of his desire; i mean, sure lolita's a girl, but at least she's human! lots of similarities between the two works now that i think about it, but no more on this until i have actually... thou ...more
Lady into Fox is a fable written in 1922. A husband and wife are enjoying a walk in the woods when the wife suddenly turns into a fox. The story deals with how the husband handles the situation. The author gives us something to think about in this tale and it is quite unusual. I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
I'm not entirely sure if I liked this book. I'm not sure if it's an allegory of Modernist assumptions about the Victorian Period (though it certainly contains many) or a sad story about a rather confused man. I'm not sure, plainly, how to read the book.

At first I took the narrator to be sarcastic and venomous, and in this way it seemed he was criticizing the main male character. I felt that I should be laughing at the man when, in fact, I felt really rather sorry for him. This sort of mocking c
An odd little story, by a member of the Bloomsbury Group, about transformation (willing and unwilling, it appears). Charming but eerie, the story intrigues, but what it 'means', I'm not sure; it must be an autobiographical allegory about love and loss.
What a weird little book. Not sure what to make of it. Can't say that I liked but I did find it very intriguing. Borges included it in his Biblioteca Personal project. It is well written and tightly focused.
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David Garnett (9 March 1892 – 17 February 1981) was a British writer and publisher. A prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group, Garnett received literary recognition when his novel Lady into Fox, an allegorical fantasy, was awarded the 1922 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. He ran a bookshop near the British Museum with Francis Birrell during the 1920s. He also founded (with Francis Mey ...more
More about David Garnett...
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“Wonderful or supernatural events are not so uncommon, rather they are irregular in their incidence. Thus there may be not one marvel to speak of in a century, and then often enough comes a plentiful crop of them; monsters of all sorts swarm suddenly upon the earth, comets blaze in the sky, eclipses frighten nature, meteors fall in rain, while mermaids and sirens beguile, and sea serpents engulf every passing ship, and terrible cataclysms beset humanity.” 0 likes
“Every one of her foxey ways was now so absolutely precious to him that I believe that if he had known for certain she was dead, and had thoughts of marrying a second time, he would never have been happy with a woman. No, indeed, he would have been more tempted to get himself a tame fox, and would have counted that as good a marriage as he could make.” 0 likes
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