Last year I read The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson. It had been recommended to me by a facebook friend, partly because I was painting foxes, the Winter Queen and her Fox Lover. I found it to be a beautiful book, lost myself in the words, loved the stories and whenever I now see a fox some of that magic returns.
I bought Fudoki when I was half way through reading The Fox Woman but kept it waiting on the shelf, something to look forward to. I skirted around it, picking it up now and again, prowling closer to the promise of the pages. Would it be as good, better, different? Finally I allowed myself to read it and this morning finished the last page.
Already I know that I have to read it again, that I have to read them both again, that both are two of the books that I hold closest to my heart. I love the place that both of these books are from, love the magic, the language, the possibilities, the layers, the richness. I love the images that they make to dance in my head. I love the courage of the small cat-become-woman as she walks through the world to find her Fudoki. Part of the reason it took me so long to open the book, to take the time to read was because I knew that nothing could be as good at The Fox Woman. But I was wrong.
I love the subtle workings and the slight bonds that bind the magic of The Fox Woman to the magic of Fudoki.
And now I know that in the same way that when I see a fox it brings to mind Kitsune I will never see a tortoiseshell cat without thinking of Kagaya-Hime, her extraordinary journey, and wondering how she is. And also remembering this from the book, which reminds me so much of reading, what it is, what it can be…
“I have been fishing in a river a thousand miles from you, eyeing the trout beneath its surface. For some reason this brought you to my mind.”
Fudoki by Kij Johnson, published by Tor. isbn 0-765-30390-6