In The Time Of Foxes – A stunning collection of tales
‘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.’
‘Each of these stories is a whole new world of experience and meaning, and to read them together is to fall utterly under Lennan’s spell as a master storyteller.’ – Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only the Animals
A film director in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an escapee from a cult in Japan; a Sydney café-owner rekindling an old flame; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a journalist on Mars, face-to-face with his fate.
The world has taught these men and women to live off their wits. They know how to play smart, but what happens when they need to be wise?
In the Time of Foxes is both compellingly readable and deeply insightful about the times in which we live, each narrative a compressed novel. With an exhilarating span of people and places, woven together by the most mercurial of animals, it shows the short story collection at its most entertaining and rewarding, and introduces Jo Lennan as a captivating new storyteller.
Duffy’s Thoughts On In The Time Of Foxes
I’ll be honest. It took me a while to pick this one up to read. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the book cover, the broad description, or unique topic choice. Who knows, but once I did pick it up, I couldn’t put it down.
Jo Lennon is a brilliant writer. The tiniest details are delivered in sparse sentences for maximum impact. A look, a feeling, a seemingly everyday scene, is left lingering with the next chapter of each of these stories left for your own mind to ponder. I found myself taking a little break in between in story to digest before moving on.
I followed Lennon’s characters to bustling Tokyo, a back garden in London, a cafe in Sydney and an oligarch’s home in Russia. Each story is united with the theme of the fox. Are they always cunning? Or, are they just superb survivors? I loved the use of different locations and uniquely different plots. There wasn’t one story I skipped. Each story stood alone and equal to the others.
There seemed to be something else which linked these characters and that was a feeling of slight melancholy and heaviness. I can’t quite describe it, but there were a couple of characters, in particular, who stayed with me for a bit after I finished reading.
Jo Lennon has a talent for writing convincing stories in a contemporary world, highlighting the struggles we all face at different times in our lives. The only problem with this collection of short stories is that you’ll forever be wondering ‘what happened next?’ to some of the characters.
Who is author Jo Lennon?
Born in Wollongong, Jo Lennan studied in Sydney and Oxford. She has worked as a lawyer and writer, contributing to The Economist, 1843, Time Magazine and The Monthly. Her work has featured in the Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays anthologies.