Book details

The Fox Wife

A Novel

Author: Yangsze Choo

The Fox Wife

The Fox Wife

About This Book

Some people think foxes are similar to ghosts because we go around collecting qi, but nothing could be further than the truth. We are living creatures, just like...

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Book Details

Some people think foxes are similar to ghosts because we go around collecting qi, but nothing could be further than the truth. We are living creatures, just like you, only usually better looking . . .

Manchuria, 1908.
In the last years of the dying Qing Empire, a courtesan is found frozen in a doorway. Her death is clouded by rumors of foxes, which are believed to lure people by transforming themselves into beautiful women and handsome men. Bao, a detective with an uncanny ability to sniff out the truth, is hired to uncover the dead woman’s identity. Since childhood, Bao has been intrigued by the fox gods, yet they’ve remained tantalizingly out of reach—until, perhaps, now.

Meanwhile, a family who owns a famous Chinese medicine shop can cure ailments but can’t escape the curse that afflicts them—their eldest sons die before their twenty-fourth birthdays. When a disruptively winsome servant named Snow enters their household, the family’s luck seems to change—or does it?

Snow is a creature of many secrets, but most of all she’s a mother seeking vengeance for her lost child. Hunting a murderer, she will follow the trail from northern China to Japan, while Bao follows doggedly behind. Navigating the myths and misconceptions of fox spirits, both Snow and Bao will encounter old friends and new foes, even as more deaths occur.

New York Times bestselling author Yangsze Choo brilliantly explores a world of mortals and spirits, humans and beasts, and their dazzling intersection. Epic in scope and full of singular, unforgettable characters, The Fox Wife is a stunning novel about old loves and second chances, the depths of maternal love, and ancient folktales that may very well be true.

Imprint Publisher

Henry Holt and Co.



Reading Guide

In The News

Named a Best Book of February by Time
Named a Favorite Fiction Read of 2024 by NPR
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2024 by LitHub and BookPage

A February 2024 IndieNext Pick
A February 2024 LibraryReads pick

“Witty and suspenseful.”
–Alida Becker, The New York Times Book Review

“Like all the best supernatural stories, The Fox Wife reveals something profound about humanity: the ease with which we get drawn into chasing what we think we want, rather than what will actually nourish us. And the cruelty with which the powerful treat those under their power.”
–Charlie Jane Anders, The Washington Post

“Utterly captivating . . . . So lively and sharp-edged, it unfolds almost like an animated cartoon in your head.”
–Marion Winik, Oprah Daily

“A delicate and suspenseful detective tale, it’s perfect to savor on a wintry weekend.”
—Bethanne Patrick, The Los Angeles Times

“[An] enchanting tale of murder, revenge, and the power of a mother’s love.”

“It’s clever and observant, with twists and turns and just the perfect amount of folklore to keep you asking: What is real and what is imagined?”
—Elissa Nadworny, NPR

“Part love story, part adventure, and part mystery, The Fox Wife is an enjoyable excursion into the beliefs and life in the China of 120 years ago.”
—Michael Sears, The New York Journal of Books

“Equal parts detective story, folktale, and family saga, the highly anticipated latest novel by Choo (The Night Tiger, 2019) will appeal to fans of diverse, imaginative literary fiction, historical mysteries like Nilima Rao's A Disappearance in Fiji (2023), and fantasy like Marlon James' Dark Star trilogy.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Choo’s writing is lush and the slow revelation of complicated relationships and reunions hum with tension. This is a treat.”
Publishers Weekly

“The voices are compelling; the secrets are rich. . . . Layers of meaning accrue, bringing together the past and the present, mythology and personal ambition, actions and reactions, control and fate, into a fascinating tale of foxes, foes and friends.”

“An intriguing vulpine mystery worth the suspension of disbelief...The rich Asian tradition of fox folklore provides the backdrop for Choo’s complex and atmospheric tale of identity and discovery set in early 1900s Manchuria.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Magical, wonderous, transporting and illuminating, The Fox Wife reminds me that reading can be pure joy . . . I was captivated from the very first word of this novel until its very last. Yangsze Choo is a writer of immense talent.”
Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, internationally best-selling author of The Mountains Sing and Dust Child

“A stunning story filled with wonder, mystery and folklore. I was utterly captivated by Yangsze Choo’s exquisite prose and fascinating characters from the first page till the last. A remarkable tale, one that will stay with me.”
Sue Lynn Tan, author of Daughter of the Moon Goddess

“Like the foxes who populate its pages, The Fox Wife is vivid, enigmatic, and enchanting. Choo's fresh new fable conjures a world where danger and intrigue are forever entwined with sublime and sensory delights."
—M.L. Rio, author of If We Were Villains

The Fox Wife is a rich tangle of myth, mystery, and history, delivered with Choo's inimitable grace and precision. It's not a book so much as a beguilement; it enchanted me entirely.”
Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author of Starling House

“Masterfully plotted and superbly surprising, The Fox Wife will entice you into a world of magic and heartbreak, a beautiful tapestry woven from love and revenge and forgiveness. Beware: once you start, you may not be able to put it down!”
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of Independence and The Last Queen

“Choo weaves yet another enthralling tale and, this time, it’s a glimpse of the immortal lives of foxes. Her prose is lush as ever and Snow is a captivating lens of emotions and magic.”
—Roselle Lim, author of Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club

About the Creators

The Fox Wife

The Fox Wife

The Fox Wife
The Fox Wife