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Lady Into Fox

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,390 ratings  ·  196 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 ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Hesperus Press (first published 1922)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,390 ratings  ·  196 reviews

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Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ilse by: J
Shelves: 2018, 2019, uk, reviewed
However you may be changed, my love is not.

When witnessing the expression of traditional wedding vows - the promise to have and to hold, from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part – one can wonder how many couples will be able to truly live up to this, regardless of the circumstances, and at the same time keep the love alive. Aren’t those vows rather absurd, taking into account the current average
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bloomsbury
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
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 Teb ...more
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
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s hard to say too much about Lady into Fox – it’s a short novella, and very simple. Indeed, I didn’t really feel that I was reading the work of an author – more just hearing an articulate, literate man tell me a story. The prose isn’t always polished – and is speckled with little oddities from the common speech of the era – and the story is straightforward and unadorned. Put bluntly, it’s about an English gentleman whose wife one day turns into a fox, and the difficulties that are posed by th ...more
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Magical and sad. Great wood-cuts illustrate the story throughout. Yay foxes!!
(3.5) I accidentally did things the wrong way round: a few months back I read Sarah Hall’s Madame Zero, which includes the BBC National Short Story Prize 2013 winner “Mrs Fox,” clearly modeled on Garnett’s half-charming, half-horrible fable. In both, an upper-middle-class marriage is derailed when the wife turns into a fox. Here Mr. Tebrick sends away the servants and retreats from the world to look after Silvia, who grows increasingly feral. To start with the vixen will wear clothing, sleep in ...more
"But the strange event which I shall here relate came alone, without companions into a hostile world, and for that very reason claimed little of the general attention of mankind. For the sudden changing of Mrs. Tebrick into a vixen is an established fact which we may attempt to account for as we will."

What happens when partners in a love relationship are faced with a shocking event that has no explanation or remedy? Do they continue as man and wife considering the core changes that now separate
Isa Lavinia
David Garnett: Picture this, a lady... turns into a fox! Isn't that the wildest thing you've ever read?!
Me: *having read his bio and knowing he was sleeping with a married man, decided to be present at the birth of that man's daughter, jokingly wrote to a friend, "I think of marrying it. When she is 20, I shall be 46 – will it be scandalous?", and later on actually married her*: Not really...
Mar 17, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cecily by: Wastrel
See Alfred and Wastrel's comments on my review of Lawrence's The Fox,, for why to read this.

Text on Gutenberg:
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
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magical-realism
A very odd, fairy-tale like story of a man whose wife suddenly turns into a fox on their morning walk. Initially, he takes her back to his house, dismisses all his servants, shoots his dog, and tries to keep her safe from the hunt, but as the story progresses, her foxy natures becomes more and more dominant.

Complete with beautiful woodcut illustrations.
Jun 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mir 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." ...more
Amethyst Marie
Feb 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
I debated my rating on this book long and hard. I eventually decided on a one-star rating in the best possible sense. Like the kind of one-star rating that will motivate me to invite my friends over to watch some wondrously terrible piece of crap on Netflix and laugh out loud through the whole thing.


Sylvia is a ridiculously perfect heroine in the spirit of Elsie Dinsmore. She grew up in the country, so she's innocent, but she was raised by a Protestant governess, so she
Emily M
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not prone to going and looking up the lives of authors, but something about this brief novella seemed to encourage it. An allegorical fantasy, but of what, exactly? A man whose wife turns into a fox, and who continues to love her as she grows progressively more wild. An early twentieth century man who comes to terms with becoming a housewife of sorts, to a fox. Who is able to look past infidelity and raise another man’s (fox’s) cubs. There had to be a good story here.

Well, for a start, the s
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.
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.

Jan 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Gijs Grob
'Lady into Fox' shares a premise with Franz Kafka's 'Die Verwandlung' in that a person suddenly changes into an animal. The big difference with Kafka, however, is that in this case the lady, who changes into a fox, has a loving husband. But will his love last now his wife has changed? And how will they manage in a fox hunt loving country?

'Lady into Fox' is a gentle short tale about what it means to love. Unfortunately, some aspects of Garnett's writing style prevent it of becoming a timeless cla
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
short novella about a woman who turns into a fox, and her husband's attempts to keep her safe (he shoots dogs and buries them, chases after foxhunts etc.) and treat her like his wife as far as he can (dresses her at first for example, buys her grapes), but nature takes over. Well written, to the point, very nice woodcut illustrations. Odd, memorable. ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars.
Jul 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What a charming, terrible, and peculiar little book this is. Published in 1922, Lady into Fox feels like a parable or fairy tale, and not a Disney-fied fairy tale but a traditional fairy tale, where gruesome things happen and peril is real. And author, David Garnett, is clearly conveying allegorical or subtextual meaning to his readers.

The novella begins as Mr. and Mrs. Tebrick, young newlyweds are out for a walk, when suddenly and mysteriously Mrs. Tebrick turns into a fox. The entire plot ess
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
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.
Ashley Lambert-Maberly
A very strange little book, but I had tears in my eyes when it was over—it's a weird, sad story.

A lady becomes a fox—just like that—and though nobody witnesses it (her husband was looking away at the instant), the change is immediate, and the fox can understand English and play cards, so we accept it as truth. It is told from a narrator's opinion of the husband's point of view, as he copes with a wife who is a fox, and as the story unfolds, a wife who increasingly becomes foxlike.

My mother (who
Peter Stone
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extraordinary book written in 1922. It is a very short novel but unlike anything else I've ever read. It's about a happily married young couple who only disagree about one thing, fox hunting. One day the wife refuses to get involved any further, she sits down - and turns into a fox. What happens next is heart-warming, ridiculous, sad, crazy, improbable and - eventually - startling. It won't take you long to read. ...more
Fedde Hopmans
A well written tale. This book really makes you think about human relationships and what it means. As for the plot, nothing too special happens. Still, the main premise of the book carries it enough to make it work.
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange! Very Strange! However, this story follows a long tradition going back to Ovid. I don't think we should read much meaning and look for deep explanations and intention by the author. This is just a fable about relationship and love. ...more
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David Garnett (9 March 1892 – 17 February 1981), known as "Bunny", 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 founde ...more

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2 likes · 1 comments
“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.” 7 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.” 4 likes
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