A short story collection, from Tartarus Press, 2023, published as a sewn hardback book of 239 pages, printed lithographically, with head and tailbands, ribbon marker, and d/w. ISBN 978-1-912586-42-4
First, signed, hardback edition £40 (inc p&p), Ebook: £7.99. Order here.
The humans who inhabit Dream Fox and Other Strange Stories seem destined to test the limitations of rational existence. Some have accidentally strayed into no-man’s land, such as the narrator of ‘Bipolarity’ who must decide how to learn to live (or not) with her mental illness; or the protagonist of ‘Beguiled’ who may be forced by family attitudes into social obscurity; or, in ‘School Trip’, unpromising June’s unexpected discovery of her own ‘special powers’. Other stories, such as ‘Home Comforts’, are more playful, although the uncanny is never far away.
Dream Fox also includes ‘a book within a book’: Mary Belgrove’s Book of Unusual Experiences—containing nine diverse accounts of weird and paranormal happenings written by those who experienced them, compiled and commented upon by the eponymous Ms Belgrove, whose dying wish is to publish evidence of such events for scientists to study. Who can resist accounts of indestructible mushrooms, a country house party that goes disastrously wrong, prehistoric wish-fulfilment magic, or the dream-fuelled psychedelic love story that is ‘View from a Tower’?
Cover image: ‘Crossing an Iced-Over Stream’ by Gina Litherland.
"In the emotionally complex title story of Rosalie Parker’s Dream Fox and Other Strange Stories, a young girl’s empathy for the foxes hunted by her farmer father culminates in a shocking finale and an even more shocking metamorphosis. Besides Parker’s own excellent short fiction, this volume also incorporates “Mary Belgrove’s Book of Unusual Experiences.” In one of those experiences, a weekend at a snowbound country house mixes flirtation, possible adultery, an eerie portrait and an atmosphere of growing unease. What more could you want?" Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
"Dream Fox and Other Strange Stories is an enigmatic tour de force, which does weird right ... this collection is superb." Tori Borne, British Fantasy Society
"A collection of strange stories that never fail to interest and, considered as a whole, represent a considerable creative achievement." David Longhorn, Supernatural Tales
"There is an empathetic delicacy to her writing that infuses these stories of place, of love lost and found and of family in its many and varied forms with a feminine focus that imparts a sinuous and thoughtful subtlety to the underlying frisson of the strange." Ian Holloway, Wyrd Britain:
"Parker’s perfect, observant prose charms readers deeper into the strange worlds she constructs. Those worlds are not always safe, especially for the protagonists. With themes in overlapping spaces between horror, paranormal and fantasy, most stories are comfortably unsettling. A loitering unease, a tenacious mood of what-if, and a rich echo of marginal realities infuse the storylines... A swag of stories to entertain, provoke and linger." Aurealis # 161
"A perfect example of all the strengths of the modern 'strange' short story format. Parker writes an up-to-date take on the classic weird/strange short story in a thoroughly enjoyable collection that capitalizes on the strengths of the format. The writing is superb and varied, though united by an observable feminine vision. Put all of this in a gorgeously designed hardcover, and you have the makings of a book to read and re-read." Rick Kleffel, Narrative Species.
There is also an audio interview with the author at the end of the review.
From The Endless Bookshelf on Twitter: 'current reading: Rosalie Parker, Dream Fox and Other Strange Stories, Tartarus Press, . A beautiful book. Collection of 18 stories, plus “Mary Belgrove’s Book of Unusual Experiences” . . . to read “Mary Belgrove’s Book ...” is to find an unexpected, fascinating book on a bargain shelf or at a rummage sale, & learn that the world is not such a tidy, rational place [the vanity press frame story is very funny, too].'
Copyright Rosalie Parker, 2024