Once upon a time, a professor finds an old, neglected manuscript at his university's library book sale.
What unfolds in Jordy Rosenberg's Confessions of the Fox, from the discovery from this old manuscript, is far more than even poor Dr. Voth could have imagined. The document turns out to be an unpublished account of Jack Sheppard, notorious 18th-century thief and something of an English folk hero. Jack, made famous by the likes of The Threepenny Opera and The Beggar's Opera, is known to history for his fantastic heists and seeming ability to break out of any jail cell. The new confessions Dr. Voth discovers, however, suggest that history may have misremembered Jack in more ways than one--and those discoveries may put Voth or the manuscript--or both--in danger.
Taken at face value, Confessions of the Fox is a rollick of a read, a fictional autobiography of a real person packed with action and heists and sex and danger. But with the addition of Dr. Voth's annotations, Rosenberg transforms a "simple" story into something much more complex. Voth's extensive footnotes poke fun at the world of modern academia; condemn systems of capitalism and power; denounce the time-honored traditions of mass incarceration; and offer commentary on gender, queer and trans theory through the lens of Jack's story. The result is much more than the sum of its parts, an impressive, ambitious debut from an author whose passion for and knowledge of his subjects shines on every page. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm