Excerpt from Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Confessions of the Fox

by Jordy Rosenberg

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg X
Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2018, 352 pages
    Mar 2019, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite
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Pinched between these two Torments — a home in which he was a thing of Nightterrors, and a servitude in which he was another moving Part churning product towards profit — there was no course of action but to try to feel Nothing.

His mother bent down and kiss'd Jack's face. She touched his cheek with her hand, and held it there for a moment — she whispered something in his ear.

Then walked away with nary a backward glance.

At dinner that evening, Lady Kneebone presented Jack with a dress to wear while serving. "Our servant has taken ill, so we're in quite a pinch. You'll have to replace her for now."

As the Kneebones stuff'd their bellies with mutton and hot boiled water, Jack stood to the side. He was a Shade haunting the boreal dining room. The yowl of a nasty wet Cough descended through the wide wooden slats of the ceiling — the regular servant making quick progress towards Death.

Jack shiver'd in his duds, his skin shrinking from the touch of the organza and lace—girl textiles that seemed only to make the chill worse. He had imagined that the wealthy would keep their houses toasty. This was very much not so. And why didn't the Kneebones drink cider? Surely they could afford it. Yet they sipp'd spring water bought from a water-cart merchant. Maybe all of them were different than he'd imagined. A dusty, Bland, bitter lot.

"P——" Lady Kneebone — not looking up from her uninspired progress through a wad of meat lying just inches from her nose — called to Jack. "Make a Gargle of cumin seeds, the mashed root-stock of an iris, and one blistered long pepper."

She said this as if Jack had any idea how to make a Gargle. "For protection against the croup," furthered Kneebone, swallowing a gulp of hot water and waving Jack back into the kitchen.

When Jack brought it out at last—having assembl'd it as best he could from an array of items that must have been purchas'd earlier in the day by the ailing servant and set on the counter in what would prove this poor soul's last labor, save the labors of dying itself—the Kneebones proceeded to throw their heads back and Shriek bubbles, then hack the mucus-broth into their empty mugs.

Standing in the corner of the dining room, watching these two sour Wraiths spatter and drool, Jack tried to recall his mother's departing words.

—I love you—despite everything

—I smooth'd your dark curls, once—

—Remember that afternoon we walked what seemed forever on the riverbank?

To the latter of which Jack would have recalled without flaw the exact weather that day—their most leisurely, closest day together. It had been early November. That time of year when the whole City gloams by late afternoon, and the effluvium of dried leaves crunched underfoot inflicts the inexorability of the Seasons upon the Senses.

An autumnal Terror had fluttered in Jack's stomach as horsecarts blasted by, thwacking wet wheels on wet leaves. Wake turbulence swirl'd leaf-fragments in small vortices up and down the darkening Riverbank.

His mother had reached down through the dusking Gloom. And held his hand.

Tho' frankly, she may have said — and this is the most likely—

You're the greatest Shame of my life.

Better to just imagine Mum dead, he'd shush'd his pounding heart. Lots of urchins have lost their mothers, he reasoned. He saw it daily when he batter'd down the streets with the gang on one of their common ruses, knocking into the apothecary carts, spilling Oils and Emollients on the cobblestones "on accident" in order to descend upon the blanched almonds, mint leaves, and barley seeds like a gabbling Flock of pigeons, scraping them up to sell at a cut rate to the next cart 'round the corner.

Excerpted from Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg. Copyright © 2018 by Jordy Rosenberg. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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