Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

Confessions of the Fox

Set in the eighteenth century London underworld, this bawdy, genre-bending novel reimagines the life of thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard to tell a profound story about gender, love, and liberation.Recently jilted and increasingly unhinged, Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. No one knows Jack’s true story—his confessions have never been found. That ...

Details Confessions of the Fox

TitleConfessions of the Fox
Release DateJun 26th, 2018
PublisherOne World
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Lgbt, Literary Fiction, Glbt, Queer

Reviews Confessions of the Fox

  • Jessica Woodbury
    Historical fiction tends to be very cis, straight, and white. There are a few authors out there intent on changing that and Jordy Rosenberg's new novel is one of the most ambitious ones yet. It was pitched to me as Sarah Waters meets Vladimir Nabokov and I was like, "Sign me the hell up!" and it's a surprisingly good pitch. The story is from a discovered manuscript, full of thievery and action and lots of sex; and there is also a Pale-Fire-esque ...
  • Blair
    Jack Sheppard is a real historical figure, 'a notorious English thief and gaol-breaker of early 18th-century London'. In Confessions of the Fox, Professor R. Voth turns up a hitherto-undiscovered biography of Sheppard – allegedly an authentic original – at a university book sale, and sets about investigating and annotating it. What makes this story distinctive is that Voth is a trans man, and as he pores over the manuscript, he realises Jack ...
  • Jane
    Confessions of the Fox has a fascinating premise: a recently heart-broken professor has uncovered and is annotating a long-lost manuscript that exposes the gender-defying true story about two notorious thieves who were lovers in 18th-century London. Unfortunately, this was just an overly tedious read for me. The seemingly never-ending footnotes acted as a third (or fourth?) plot line, and the back and forth between the notes and the story made it...
  • Valerie Best
    Recently dumped college professor, Dr. Voth, discovers the diaries of 18th century master thief Jack Sheppard. The novel is Dr. Voth’s painstaking transcription of the manuscript and their own increasingly frantic personal footnotes. So, ultimately, what you have is two stories, kind of cunningly layered over each other.I’ll be honest, it felt like a little too much work at first, but, I’m a sucker for footnotes, and, by the end, I was into...
  • Wotgermaine
    This is a queering and de-whiting of the historical legend of Jack Sheppard, the master gaolbreaker, thief, and carpenter of 1720’s London. Wait, it’s the framing narrative of the academic who finds and edits Sheppard’s journal. No, actually it’s the hot romantic account of Jack and his more-than-lover Bess as well as the erotic and professional wanderings of the academic. And also, it’s a monstrous ride down the Thames in a little boat...
  • M.
    An experimental alternate-history anti-colonial prison-abolitionist hella-queer (and very sexy) feminist trans novel. It's thrilling to watch Rosenberg at play. Among other things (form (the interaction of the 'old' and new texts provides not just a critical framework but an affective one, too) and character (I love Jack and Bess separately, and together)), I was wowed by what seems like pyrotechnic linguistic skill -- and invention -- and a tigh...
  • Bandit
    Normally I attempt to avoid reading plot summaries and reviews too much to maintain some element of surprise, but this one I did check out and it sounded irresistible, something straight out of Sarah Waters’ realm of queer historical fiction. Then again that was probably setting the bar much too high. This book does have a lot of the same ingredients (queer characters, historical setting, specifically England early 1700s, small crimes, grand lo...
  • Patty
    What is this? Well, a damn hard book to review, to start. On one level we have what is presented as the 'recently discovered autobiography' of Jack Sheppard, real-life petty thief and escapee from jail in early 1700s London. Sheppard lived fast and died young, then proceeded to become an enormously famous figure in English folklore, probably most recognizable today as the inspiration for "The Ballad of Mack the Knife" in The Threepenny Opera. But...
  • Tracy Rowan
    What a strange book.I wasn't sure what to expect when I requested it from Net Galley, though the premise sounded intriguing; a retelling of John Gay's Beggar's Opera (the original source for Brecht's Threepenny Opera) with some gender-swapping?  Okay I'm game. The book recounts the short, intense life of one Jack Sheppard, a notorious 18th century footpad, and his love, Edgeworth Bess.  But in this version, Jack is a young woman who has always...
  • Josh Hereth
    This was truly such a brilliantly crafted book and I can’t wait to see what everyone else has to say about it. This historical fiction reimagining notorious eighteenth-century thief Jack Sheppard as a trans man will keep you hooked, but the abundant use of arcane eighteenth-century vocabulary and writing style will keep your speed in check— and trust me, you don’t want to finish this book too fast. Did I mention that the novel itself is a f...
  • Rana
    Whoa, doggie. This was something else. Both a super story and a fascinating form of story-telling. But ugh. Why do ebooks (and maybe the paper book??) not link footnotes? Is this a tablet issue? An app issue? A publisher issue? This 100% took me out of the story each time I had to flip back and forth. If a footnote is essential for the story, PUT IT AT THE FUCKING BOTTOM OF THE PAGE, ASSHOLES.
  • Jennifer
    There is so much to say about this book, I'm not even sure where to begin. In many ways, the book is groundbreaking and fascinating. I've truly never read anything like it. But did I ENJOY it? Man, that's hard to say. I'll be honest, this book was challenging to read. For one, the structure is complicated. On one level you have the relationship of Bess and Jack (EASILY the best part of the book). Then there is our author and his parallel story ab...
  • J. F.
    Book Review: Confessions of the Fox by Jordy RosenbergBeing a voracious reader, I was curious: the debut novel of an author "..writing with the narrative mastery of Sarah Waters and the playful imagination of Nabokov..", and described to be " audacious storyteller of extraordinary talent". The genre: LGBTQIA.Jack Sheppard, the story's protagonist, was the 18th century’s most notorious robber and thief. His spectacular escapes from various ...
  • Luke Tolvaj
    I was lucky enough to win a copy of Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg.Confessions of the Fox is a story within a story, converging over two very different timelines. The first story is the main bulk of the novel, while the second story takes place primarily in the footnotes. The two stories have unifying threads that connect in the shared theme of found family within resistance. As a trans man, I was really interested to read an own voice...
  • charlotte
    Galley provided by publisherActual rating 3.5Confessions of the Fox is a reimagining of the legend of Jack Sheppard, a thief and gaol-breaker of the early 18th century in London, in which Jack is a trans man. It is told in the form of an authentic manuscript, found by Professor Voth, whose annotations of the manuscript in themselves tell a parallel story.To be honest, I found it a little hard to get into the manuscript story. Mostly because it's ...
  • Stephanie
    Is it possible to write a deeply anti-capitalist, anti-colonial, anti-imperial, anti-binary hopeful novel that is simultaneously metafictional and gripping? Yes, ladies and gents and everyone in between and outside, yes, it is. This is what political fiction looks like.Small quibbles aside, this was an enormously clever conceit and well-executed, too. While I do think that some of Bess's dialogue, in particular, was on the nose (see her "securiti...
    The first time I saw this available on NetGalley, I clicked right past it. The blurb sounded intriguing (I do love stories about the “underbelly” of society) but I try to only request from NetGalley when something truly strikes me, so that my TBR there doesn’t get too backed up. However, right after that, I saw someone rave about it on bookstagram (I need to starting writing these accounts down when they inspire me, so I can remember who to...
  • Ilana
    A brilliant, delicious, intellectual and sensual novel that engages with so many ideas and contemporary/age-old political issues. I am so proud to have read it, and so excited to see it out in the world, and can't wait to see what Jordy Rosenberg does next (and I will keep luxuriating over this novel for a while yet).
  • Michael Taeckens
    The first novel released under Chris Jackson's One World imprint--a stunning achievement (especially for a debut novel) that reminds me of Sarah Waters and Jeanette Winterson.
  • Miriam Joy
    This is a fundamentally odd book, and as such, extremely difficult to review.The first thing that you notice about it is the style -- or rather, the structure. It's presented as a manuscript discovered by an academic, who is now editing it and sharing it with the world -- not an unfamiliar premise, but handled here in a way I've never seen before. Instead of this simply lending an air of antiquity to the story, it's an integral part of it. The bu...
  • Blake Fraina
    Back when I was in grade school, the historical figures we studied largely consisted of straight, white, mostly Christian, mostly Western [cis] men. I don’t know how much has changed since then, but I know in my day there was a lot of stories that were omitted or, more egregiously, interpreted in such a way as to maintain the status quo and paint history's “victors” as the good guys. Jordy Rosenberg’s ambitious Confessions of the Fox begi...
  • Laurie
    There are a lot of layers going on in this book, so many that I suspect I’m not educated enough to even notice. It’s a story within a story; it’s a wild adventure story and also a statement about how people of color, the queer and the trans people have been erased from history. It also mentions colonialism, privacy issues, Marxism, women’s rights, and I’m sure lots of other things that I missed. The first narrative is that of Dr. R. Vot...
  • Steve
    An oddity, in the best possible way, but also difficult to review. The simple description is that this novel is a new take on the Jack Sheppard myth, but that implies you have to be familiar with that myth, or at least have read or seen The Beggar's Opera or The Threepenny Opera. It has been 20 years since I read Brecht's take on the infamous English jail-breaker, aka "Mack the Knife", so I didn't remember much about it. I don't think it really m...
  • Siobhan
    Confessions of the Fox is a transformative, metafictional piece of historical fiction that takes the life of Jack Sheppard—infamous thief and gaol-breaker who provided inspiration for John Gay's The Beggar's Opera—and tells it afresh through a mysterious manuscript. A precarious professor, V. Roth, discovers a manuscript in a university clear out. The manuscript tells the story of Jack Sheppard, a transgender man indentured to a carpenter who...
  • Lisa
    This is a wonderfully out-there debut novel—ambitious as hell, smart, and fun. At its surface level the book is a twinned narrative involving a discovered manuscript and a contemporary academic who annotates it heavily (and personally) as he transcribes it. But there's a whole lot more going on, particularly in the manuscript, which is ostensibly a biography of the early 18th-century English folk hero Jack Sheppard—who was the model for Mache...
  • John
    This book is filled with beautiful transgressions. Structurally, it's an interesting take on the frame story, as it consists of the academic Dr. Voth, who finds the manuscript called "Confessions of the Fox," which he believes is a previously undiscovered version of the story of folk-hero & rogue Jack Sheppard. Dr. Voth's story—full of upheavals, as he has recently ended a very important relationship, as well as been put on unpaid leave at the ...
  • Lauren
    4.5 Stars overall. This is an extremely fascinating and compelling novel that is essentially two stories in one.The first story is the one you are reading normally; a supposed manuscript of a memoir about a amorous, transgender young man named Jack. The text details his coming of age, budding sexuality, and introduction to thievery in 18th century England. The second story takes place in the footnotes of the manuscript, and is told by a trans pro...
  • willowdog
    The 18th century Jack Shepard infamous legend has been told a number of times, but not like this before. In this story within a story as a political, social statement, Professor Volt a trans man discovers a diary of Jack's and in making it ready for publication realizes that Jack is trans also. The adventure story of Jack's life is fascinating on its own. However, Rosenberg layers the story with issues regarding freedom, capitalism, cis and trans...
  • msleighm
    4 stars.Giveaway, I'd like to thank the author and publisher for this Advanced Readers Copy. Great story of the repressed and disenfranchised. Style, possible historical document with modern day editors notes, keeps niggling at my brain, but I can't remember what book it reminds me of. Certainly nothing similar in topic or time period. A passage that I particularly like, page 163: "Spinoza once ask'd himself the question of whether or not 'twas a...