Thursday, August 27, 2015
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
In many ways, an author has complete control over his characters. The character is given life by the author, given whatever traits the author desires and every move and action is controlled by the author's whims. Helen Oyeyemi explores this relationship in her novel Mr. Fox.
Mr. Fox is a novelist who specializes in creating female characters who he then plots horrible deaths for. Each woman lives for a brief spell on the pages, then her existence is quashed by his whims. His wife, Daphne, has concerns about this but reconciles herself to it, as she has to his many other whims.
All changes when he creates Mary Foxe. This character refuses to be controlled by Mr. Fox's creative genius. She comes to life and interacts with him and even with his wife. Mr. Fox is enthralled with her although he still intends the same end.
In a series of stories, Oyeyemi explores this Bluebeard relationship between an author and his characters. It is an interesting twist and a fascinating exploration of the writing process and how real the author's creations can come to be. The reader will be entranced, appalled, excited and intrigued as the novelist, his wife and his literary creation intertwine in various ways. This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and gets at the crux of why individuals write and why others read their creations.