Confessions of the Fox review: Jordy Rosenberg's playful historical metafiction

Confessions of the Fox

Jordy Rosenberg

Confessions of the Fix. Jordy Rosenberg.

Atlantic, $29.99

Confessions of the Fox swirls around Jack Sheppard – an infamous pickpocket, gaol-breaker and folk hero to the poor from 18th-century London. Sheppard might always have been destined for literary fame. There's speculation Daniel Defoe may have written the biographical pamphlets that were circulated at Sheppard's execution, but he's better known as the inspiration behind John Gay's A Beggar's Opera (and subsequently Mack the Knife from Brecht/Weill's Threepenny Opera). Jordy Rosenberg reimagines Jack as a trans man in a subversive and playful period metafiction, richly embedded in the rambunctious literary tradition that brought us Tristram Shandy (or postmodern inheritors such as Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon). It's a queer picaresque full of colour and incident, layered with cunning ideas, counter-stories and transgressive critique.

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