The Fox Wife

A detective is approached about discovering the identity of a young woman who is found dead and frozen outside a restaurant. A grieving mother undertakes a search to locate the man she holds responsible for her daughter’s death. As each travels across Manchuria in the early 20th century, it becomes clear that while their stories may seem unrelated, the clues they are each following lead them closer and closer together.

In her latest novel, after 2019’s excellent The Night Tiger, Yangsze Choo tells another historical tale, rich in setting and culture, filled with marvelous characters and infused with just a bit of magical realism. Choo mines the centuries of Asian folklore and mythology about foxes who may, or may not, be able to assume human form to tell a sweeping period drama.

Choo’s lush prose evokes a world on the brink of change as the Qing dynasty ends, revolution is in the air, and established norms are challenged by a widening world and an influx of science and technology. Her characters are marvelously drawn and wonderfully complex. Many of them have connections that will come as a surprise as they are revealed.

While Choo introduces fantastical elements to the story, ultimately The Fox Wife is an all too human story of grief. It is a story about learning to live with the losses you experience, and that you must make the most of the time you have while you live (even if you are a fox with the potential of living a century).

The Fox Wife is the opposite of an Oreo cookie: a beautiful, almost dreamlike, story that surrounds some hard won, immediate, and not always palatable truths. And, like that Oreo cookie, it is equally delicious!

Read an interview with the author here.