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Lady into Fox

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  359 ratings  ·  51 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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Howards End by E.M. ForsterA Room with a View by E.M. ForsterA Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfA Passage to India by E.M. ForsterMrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
13th out of 106 books — 22 voters
Midnight's Children by Salman RushdieThe Road by Cormac McCarthyA Passage to India by E.M. ForsterWhite Teeth by Zadie SmithThe Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction
30th out of 104 books — 27 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Magical and sad. Great wood-cuts illustrate the story throughout. Yay foxes!!
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.
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'. N ...more
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
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.
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."
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
[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.
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
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.

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
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.
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
Dillwynia Peter
A delightful allegory with excellent woodcuts.

I was fortunate to borrow a 1st edition (the uni library didn't know what it had - I did :-D)
I found this book quite sad, but at the same time there were some funny bits.

A man's wife suddenly turns into a fox and in a very "stiff upper lip" kind of way, he carries on as though it's perfectly normal. He dresses the fox in a little jacket because he knows his wife would be embarrassed to be walking about naked. He even feeds the fox grapes in an effort to stop it being smelly.

When the fox begins to turn feral, he still does his best to look after her.

Alex Klaushofer
A piece of unassuming Edwardiana, this novella does more than at first appears. A respectable middle-class woman suddenly turns into a fox. Her husband continues to love her, and tries to continue their relationship as it was, but eventually realises that his wife now needs to go wild ... A story for women, men, and foxes everywhere.

You can get a glimpse of my own, real-life relationship with a fox here:

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tebrick's utter lack of compassion for dogs kind of ruined this for me, but there are some interesting ideas in this slight fairy tale(?): like that gap between the reality of others and how we perceive them, in this case made stranger because the relationship is such a close one, and the difficulty in accepting those we love as they are. A quick read with lovely woodcuts.
Read this as part of the Bloomsbury Group course I'm taking. A really interesting book. Can be interpreted many different ways. But definitely is a book that has more going on than seems at first glance. Not going to say too much more as I already wrote a paper on it.
Jul 23, 2007 Scott rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2007
magical realism novella from the '30s. quirky tale of a man whose wife suddenly turns into a fox but retains many of her human traits (for a while at least). kafkaesque of course, and whimsical, surreally abrupt ending.
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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
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“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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