‘A fox could be a shape-shifter, a spirit being. It could appear in human form if this suited its purposes; it could come and go as it pleased, play tricks, lead men astray.’
In Hackney, gigging filmmaker Nina has a fox problem in her garden. Actress Holly is implicated in the fallout of a scandal. Paul, an English tutor, gets too close to an oligarch. And Sebastian, a freelance journalist, hides a devastating secret.
Portraying the young and mobile in a world of hustle, In the Time of Foxes takes the fox as its spirit animal. Gritty and surprising, the stories range from London to Spain, Moscow to Hong Kong, revealing the shapeshifting that goes on in modern life.
Showing the short story collection at its most compelling and rewarding, In the Time of Foxes is deeply insightful about the times in which we live. It introduces Jo Lennan as an irresistible new storyteller.
Jo Lennan is the author of In The Time of Foxes, a collection of short stories published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
Jo was born in coastal New South Wales, Australia, and studied in Sydney and Oxford.
She has worked as a lawyer, university lecturer and writer, contributing features on law, the environment, theatre and the arts to Time Magazine, The Economist, 1843 and Australia’s The Monthly.
Her fiction and reportage have featured in the Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays anthologies, as well as literary journals The Junket and Meanjin. She has attended writers’ residencies at the Normal Mailer Centre in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Varuna in the Blue Mountains, NSW, and the Residencia Internacional de Arte, CanSerrat, Barcelona.
In The Time of Foxes is her first book.
I do not have the words to describe to you how much I love foxes - I've got fox shirts, fox jumpers, and a large fox tattoo on my right arm. As a country boy living in London, I'm forever delighted by bumping into urban foxes - beautiful, clever creatures that cleverly survive no matter the environment they are thrown into.
So when I received this collection of short stories that are weaved together by the mercurial and mischievous fox, I was delighted - and this debut collection suggests that Jo Lennan is a seriously talented voice to look out for in the future.
I love a short story collection - but often find myself disappointed by a strong first tale and poor subsequent ones, or by bad pacing that results in me wishing that a short story could be expanded into a longer form novel.
Lennan has great skill in crafting tales that sparkle and glow for their short duration, but do not outstay their welcome - and whilst the tales may have similar themes in terms of their focus on survival and power, they have disparate settings and uniquely individual characters who Lennan brings to life in a few short paragraphs - ensuring a constant sense of delight throughout. The stories do work wonderfully well on their own, but also this is a beautifully put together collection - they function brilliantly as a whole, with the fox the reader's guide through these fascinating snapshots of lives.
I'd love to see a novel from Lennan - and immerse myself in her words for longer - but ultimately she's a hugely skilled crafter of the short form story, and I'd be very glad of the chance to visit more of her tales - hopefully guided by her vulpine companion
Many thanks to Midas PR for the copy