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A Reader of Fictions: The Fox - Nada Surf (+ Giveaway)

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Fox - Nada Surf (+ Giveaway)

The Bay of Foxes

Author: Sheila Kohler
Pages: 207
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Source: Review copy from Penguin in exchange for an honest review

Description from Goodreads:
In 1978, Dawit, a young, beautiful, and educated Ethiopian refugee, roams the streets of Paris. By chance, he spots the famous French author M., who at sixty is at the height of her fame. Seduced by Dawit's grace and his moving story, M. invites him to live with her. He makes himself indispensable, or so he thinks. When M. brings him to her Sardinian villa, beside the Bay of Foxes, Dawit finds love and temptation—and perfects the art of deception.

First Sentence: "Dawit is sitting in the back of the café in the shadows, when he notices her."

Review:
Before I started, all I had to go on was this brief description above and a blurb, which describes the novel as 'erotic.' With that in mind, I was really expecting something very different than what I found. I was expecting melodrama, but what I found was a sort of calm, spare prose, lovely and bare. I had no idea what The Bay of Foxes would be like or that I would enjoy it so much.

Personally, I would not describe this novel as erotic. Certainly, sex is a main theme of the novel, but there are no graphic, lurid, romanticized descriptions. I don't think this book is about living vicariously through Dawit's sex life. It's more about the impact sex has upon his life.

However, I suspect that this label may have been used as a way to scare some readers away and perhaps entice others. While the book isn't erotica, I imagine that it would offend a number of readers. This novel touches on issues that are tender for a number of people: torture, prostitution, and gay sex, for example. If you are easily offended, this book probably isn't for you. It's unashamedly dark and creepy.

Part of what intrigued me about this book before I read it was the comparison to Patricia Highsmith, which is on my version of the cover, although not pictured above. I've read a couple of Highsmith's novels and, though she may be incredibly insane, I really think few people can do creepy like she can. Well, Kohler definitely deserves the comparison to Highsmith. If you enjoyed The Talented Mr. Ripley or Strangers on a Train or some other Highsmith novel, you definitely should not miss checking out The Bay of Foxes.

Another awesome thing about The Bay of Foxes is getting to learn a little bit about Ethiopia. My knowledge of African history is extremely limited, so I was able to learn a lot even from the relatively brief references herein. I love seeing this diversity in the characters, as well. Also, look at this beautiful and not whitewashed cover!

The only thing that I was meh about was the ending, which does the thing where this book has actually been written and published by one of the characters thing. I have always hated this trope, mostly because I don't feel like it really adds anything to the story. Every time I read one that does that, I make the DUN DUN sound from Law & Order.

The Bay of Foxes is wonderful literary fiction, especially for readers that love twists and psychological thrillers.

Thanks to Penguin, I can offer one copy of The Bay of Foxes to one of my readers! US only. Otherwise, just fill out the Rafflecopter below!

Rating: 4/5

Favorite Quote: "Like all colonizers, he thinks, she is ultimately the dupe."

"It's how you feel for me now, not how you felt
It's how you deal with envy, not how you dealt

Recognise and send away, set it asail

Serenity inside of me

We're in a different war

With ourselves, and with some of you
So many things that can't be true
"

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

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3 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

Yay, we already discussed this! haha. This really does sound awesome. Yay, DUN DUN sound!

June 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Christina K. said...

I haven't heard of this one, but I like that the writing reflects the theme in a way, and that it goes beyond what the blurb suggests.

I like that it takes place in the past, and that it touches on minorities in the West at times of change:)

July 1, 2012 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Anita Yancey said...

I had not heard of this author before, but this book sounds very interesting, and I would like to give this author's work a try. Thanks for having this giveaway.
ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

July 4, 2012 at 3:30 PM  

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