A marvel, a wonder—a deeply strange little novel about medicine, memory, and fox possession. With her delicate prose, arch tone, and mischievous storytelling, Wunnicke proves herself a master of the form.

Kirkus (starred review)

A delicious mix of East and West, of wonder and irony, The Fox and Dr. Shimamura is a most curious novel

The Fox and Dr. Shimamura

Fiction by Christine Wunnicke

Translated by Philip Boehm

The Fox and Dr. Shimamura toothsomely encompasses East and West, memory and reality, fox-possession myths, and psychiatric mythmaking. As an outstanding young Japanese medical student at the end of the nineteenth century, Dr. Shimamura is sent—to his dismay—to the provinces: he is asked to cure scores of young women afflicted by an epidemic of fox possession. Believing it’s all a hoax, he considers the assignment an insulting joke, until he sees a fox moving under the skin of a young beauty… Next he travels to Europe and works with such luminaries as Charcot, Breuer and Freud—whose methods, Dr. Shimamura concludes, are incompatible with Japanese politeness. The ironic parallels between Charcot’s theories of female hysteria and ancient Japanese fox myths—when it comes to beautiful, writhing young women—are handled with a lightly sardonic touch by Christine Wunnicke, whose flavor-packed, inventive language is a delight.

Translated from the German by Philip Boehm

Editions: PaperbackEbook

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Paperback (published April 30, 2019)

ISBN
9780811226240
Price US
13.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
160

Ebook

ISBN
9780811226257

A marvel, a wonder—a deeply strange little novel about medicine, memory, and fox possession. With her delicate prose, arch tone, and mischievous storytelling, Wunnicke proves herself a master of the form.

Kirkus (starred review)

Christine Wunnicke’s glittering, absurdist jewel of a novel.

New York Times Book Review

An appealingly haunting novel, slightly off-kilter, suggesting the unknown and the unknowable.

The Complete Review

Wunnicke spoofs the misogynist history of psychology in this clever and rewarding novel of slippery memories tinged with Japanese myths: this gracefully amusing blend of history and imagination will beguile readers.

Publishers Weekly

What a beautiful book!

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

A wonderful and most of all wonderfully told story.

Die Zeit

Delightfully crazy—very nicely told: Wunnicke succeeds in drawing us into the logic of this mad world, where the fox moving under a girl’s skin is as vivid (and believable?) as Charcot’s demonstration of the arc of la grande hysterie.

—Rosmarie Waldrop

A mythical, mystical, and at times bizarre tale of a late nineteenth-century Japanese doctor who is sent to remote areas of the Shimane prefecture to cure women of fox possession. Wunnicke slyly reminds us that, although women are powerless, even when it comes to treating their own illnesses, they find ways to quietly assert their will over men.

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