From the author of the instant New York Times best-seller Tenth of December comes a darkly comic short story, a fable about the all-too-real impact that we humans have on the environment.
Fox 8 has always been known as the daydreamer in his pack, the one his fellow foxes regarded with a knowing snort and a roll of the eyes. That is, until Fox 8 develops a unique skill: He teaches himself to speak “Yuman” by hiding in the bushes outside a house and listening to children’s bedtime stories. The power of language fuels his abundant curiosity about people - even after “danjur” arrives in the form of a new shopping mall that cuts off his food supply, sending Fox 8 on a harrowing quest to help save his pack. Told with his distinctive blend of humor and pathos, "Fox 8" showcases the extraordinary imaginative talents of George Saunders, whom the New York Times called “the writer for our time.”
©2013 George Saunders (P)2013 Random House Audio
"The best book you’ll read this year...more moving and emotionally accessible than anything that has come before." (The New York Times Magazine on Tenth of December)
"Tenth of December isn’t just [Saunders’s] most unexpected work yet; it’s also his best...as weird, scary, and devastating as America itself." (NPR on Tenth of December)
"An astoundingly tuned voice - graceful, dark, authentic, and funny - telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times." (Thomas Pynchon)
This title appeared in Howard Polskin's (CEO & Editor in Chief of Thin Reads) 2013 Best Summer Reads. The criteria for selections were: the stories had to be published within the last year, short--between 100-200 pages, something light, engaging--quote: "easy to finish, sort of like a cold Amstel beer on Main Beach in the Hamptons." If I could spend the summer on any beach in the Hamptons (or for that matter any beach anywhere)...the warm slobber-infused water left in my bulldog's bowl would be easy to finish, but what has that got to do with books...
I would toss into that equation: well-written, thought provoking, enjoyable. $1.95/George Saunders/ 37 minutes, you can't go wrong. I found this funny, charming, then alarming and sad (as is always the case when animals go head to head with *Yumans*), but always crisp and entertaining, and for any audience. Use your cash, save your credit, and if for some reason you don't like it...close your eyes and pretend you're on Main Beach--you'll still have $$ left for a cold brewski. *Highly recommend.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
The thing I liked most about Saunders' quirky fable is how innocent and honest his writing can be without becoming saccharine. He manages with his simple narrative and his prose ticks to walk up to the line of absurdly sentimental and overdone, but then slinks backs down.
Obvious comparisons should probably be made to David Sedaris' modern bestiary: 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk' and Dahl's 'Fantastic Mr Fox'. Saunders's story 'Fox 8' seems to belong to that same family group descended from the Aesopica. Not my favorite genre, but Saunders could write a phone book and I'd go out and buy it and read/listen to it.
While Saunders might consider his narration style to Leo Kottke's singing voice ("geese farts on a muggy day"), I think his voice is a perfect compliment to his writing.
I loved this story; I listened to it on my ipod, so I can't comment on the grammar style used in the written form that seemed to bother many reviewers. This is a very short story told from the point of view of Fox 8; he's a fox who was named that way because his pack used numbers as their names. He starts out thinking that humans are smart and kind; however, do to circumstances created by humans and after witnessing an act of cruelty by humans, his thinking evolves in this regard. As I listen to the news and go about my daily life, I find myself also asking the very same question that Fox 8 asks in his letter to the humans: "What is WRONG with you people?"
No, this is a great treat to have both the audio and the print together.
Compares to a modern fable.
Not a young child's story.
Anyone who wants to experience the dynamics of audio and print together can with this.
I heard about this story today and knew I needed it in my life. Next thing I knew I was downloading it from Audible and the rest is history.
It's the story of a fox, Fox 8, who observes and admires the people in the world around him. He learns to speak "Yuman". This is impressive yet unsettling to the other foxes but he has always been the sort of odd one of the group. Then the Yumans start to build a shopping mall. Thing start to change for the foxes and not for the better.
Fox 8 is an admirable young fox. He has a positive outlook on life and loves his fellow foxes. He has a thirst for knowledge and answers that many of the other foxes don't. I immediately wanted to pick him up and give him the adoring cuddle that he deserved.
Anyway- all cuteness and Yuman speak aside this story did have a serious side. It was rough for a bit and there were a few moments that really had you shaking you're head at Yumanity. I know, I get it what animal book doesn't? But still I felt for Fox 8. Foxes should have rights too. Maybe even justice. Look how cute and smart they are. Why don't they deserve the same things that Yumans do?
Ok now I'm getting a bit off track. Foxes and their adorableness just get me so riled up! So kawaii with their big eyes and ears and their fluffy white tipped tails! Plus they're all smart and playful to top it off. Ugh I have to stop! I'm like totally obsessed with them!
The author narrated this story in the Audible version. I think that can sometimes make or break a book. In this case it totally made it. He dove in head first and knew exactly how he wanted it to come out and how he wanted Fox 8 to sound. It was his creation coming to life perfectly (or at least I imagine it to be!)
Anyway. Great story. Read it and hopefully you will love it just like I did!
Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.
A delightful story that forces the reader into parallels between human behavior and the behavior of Fox 8 and his friends. A good, though provoking read.
I really could have enjoyed this book. Talking animals, particularly those with a sense of humor, are among my favorite literary characters. But when every other sentence includes the word "like" I have to throw in the towel. Too bad! It could have been fun.
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