Confessions of the Fox

A Novel
Hardcover

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A love story set in the eighteenth-century London of notorious thieves and queer subcultures, this genre-bending debut tells a profound story of gender, desire, and liberation.

“Resonant of George Saunders, of Nikolai Gogol, and of nothing that’s ever been written before . . . irreverent, erudite, and not to be missed.”—Booklist (starred review)

Jack Sheppard and Edgeworth Bess were the most notorious thieves, jailbreakers, and lovers of eighteenth-century London. Yet no one knows the true story; their confessions have never been found.

Until now. Reeling from heartbreak, a scholar named Dr. Voth discovers a long-lost manuscript—a gender-defying exposé of Jack and Bess’s adventures. Dated 1724, the book depicts a London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with the city’s newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of the Plague abound. Jack—a transgender carpenter’s apprentice—has fled his master’s house to become a legendary prison-break artist, and Bess has escaped the draining of the fenlands to become a revolutionary. 

Is Confessions of the Fox an authentic autobiography or a hoax? Dr. Voth obsessively annotates the manuscript, desperate to find the answer. As he is drawn deeper into Jack and Bess’s tale of underworld resistance and gender transformation, it becomes clear that their fates are intertwined—and only a miracle will save them all.

Confessions of the Fox
is, at once, a work of speculative historical fiction, a soaring love story, a puzzling mystery, an electrifying tale of adventure and suspense, and an unabashed celebration of sex and sexuality. Writing with the narrative mastery of Sarah Waters and the playful imagination of Nabokov, Jordy Rosenberg is an audacious storyteller of extraordinary talent. 

Advance praise for Confessions of the Fox

“An ambitious, thought-provoking novel [that] explores everything from gender identity to mass incarceration, moves between centuries, and even features footnotes. . . . You’ll find yourself immersed, and maybe even changed.”Entertainment Weekly

“Looking to get lost in a big, juicy historical novel? Look no further. Jordy Rosenberg’s debut tracks the Bonnie and Clyde of eighteenth-century London and the academic who’s obsessed with reading and heavily annotating an account of their lives. . . . A delight.”Vulture

“Awesome.”io9

Praise

“Resonant of George Saunders, of Nikolai Gogol, and of nothing that’s ever been written before . . . irreverent, erudite, and not to be missed.”Booklist (starred review)

“An ambitious, thought-provoking novel [that] explores everything from gender identity to mass incarceration, moves between centuries, and even features footnotes. . . . You’ll find yourself immersed, and maybe even changed.”Entertainment Weekly

“Looking to get lost in a big, juicy historical novel? Look no further. Jordy Rosenberg’s debut tracks the Bonnie and Clyde of eighteenth-century London and the academic who’s obsessed with reading and heavily annotating an account of their lives. . . . A delight.”Vulture

“Awesome.”io9

“Amazing . . . thrilling . . . A queer love story intertwined with a historical mystery that will take you to unexpected places.”Bustle

“The summer’s splashiest debut.”The Hollywood Reporter

“Absurdly fun . . . dazzling.”Publishers Weekly, “Best Summer Books 2018”

“It’s as if Robert Louis Stevenson met Michael Foucault.”—Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

“Astonishing and mesmerizing . . . [Jordy] Rosenberg is an ebullient and witty storyteller.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A singular, daring, and thrilling novel: political, sexy, and cunning as a fox.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

Confessions of the Fox is quite simply extraordinary. Imagine if Maggie Nelson, Daphne du Maurier, and Daniel Defoe collaborated? That.”—Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

“With adventure, wit, and a ferocious heart, Confessions of the Fox is an astonishing, bawdy, dazzling triumph of a book.”—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

“A genre-bending, high-octane thrill from beginning to end . . . I couldn’t put it down.”—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

“Extraordinary and brilliant . . . At once a queer love story, radical counterhistory, and a thrilling page-turner, Confessions of the Fox is a vitally important work of our time.”—China Miéville, author of The Last Days of New Paris

“A triumphant debut . . . Adventure and erudition meet with a loose-limbed poetry in every sentence, and the result is a magician’s trick of a novel but on a grand scale.”—Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

“I devoured this book because of its Dickensian devotion to gnarly historical steam punk realism. Really it’s such an obsessive read, sad it was over. I couldn’t stop wanting to go there.”—Eileen Myles, author of Chelsea Girls

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