Jun 11, 2008

When Fox is a Thousand

by Larissa Lai

Another failed attempt at magical realism. When Fox is a Thousand is a fantastical tale told from three viewpoints: a young Asian-American woman living in modern-day Vancouver, a female poet in medieval China, and a fox who has lived almost a thousand years, using magical powers to animate the bodies of dead women and cause mischief. I was really enjoying the prose, and the modern characters. But the others parts really lost me. I'm sure all the characters' stories weave together in the end, but when after more than fifty pages I still can't really tell what is going on, I don't see the point in continuing. I read seventy-two pages of this surreal book before leaving it behind.

Abandoned                      236 pages, 1995


  1. Magic realism comes and goes for me. I really enjoyed Midnight's Children (although some argue the book isn't truly magic realism), but I struggled with the element in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Two bad books in a row--hope the next one is great!

  2. Anonymous6/12/2008

    "Magical realism." I've never heard of that. How is it different from fantasy?

  3. It's "when magical elements or illogical scenarios appear in an otherwise realistic or normal setting" - to quote Wikipedia. Kind of like a dream. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the best example I can think of an author who writes magical realism.

  4. Jeane, have you read The House of the Spirits by Allende? In many ways it is similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude, but I think I like it a little better.

  5. Anonymous6/12/2008

    Thanks for the definition. Interesting... I'll have to look for a book in this category in the near future.


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