Peter is forced to abandon Pax, the orphaned kit he raised into a domesticated fox, when his father joins soldiers in an approaching, unnamed war. Peter, sent to live with his grandfather, journeys 200 miles alone to reunite with Pax, who in turn waits for his boy.
the bond between humans & animals, which not all of us share but all of us must protect.
perspective flips from Peter to Pax, which offers satisfying, regular variety but also plays with ‘witness perspective’ - where the person something is happening to is not telling that particular part of the story. this is executed particularly in one section: Peter walks away from his grief counsellor when she asks “Do you get angry?” and is haunted by her never coming after him, but she did - she visited his father & begged to see him. Pax narrates this part, which is a small heartbreak. the author researched foxes, wrote the book, then vetted it with a fox expert - like being able to translate communication between crows - which turned out to be true. only Peter, Pax, Vola, and three of Pax’s fox companions are named: spare, fablelike quality, further punctuated by the unnamed conflict & location. Peter’s time with Vola, an eccentric war veteran who lost her leg Pax & found her own ghosts of war, was both odd & satisfying.
Klassen illustrates the contained power of stillness. i wish there was more of it.
(5 July 2021: 777) - added to my shelves