The Fox in the Cupboard: A Memoir

Jane Shilling, Author . S&S/Touchstone $24 (328p) ISBN 978-0-7432-7681-8

In this splendid memoir, London Times columnist Shilling details her passion for foxhunting, a slow romance that begins midlife with a desire to ride, which she painstakingly learns to do, then escalates: she buys her own horse and becomes an avid rider and devoted hunter. The lure of foxhunting, a demanding and highly regimented sport with packs of hounds trained from puppyhood, isn't an American penchant (and foxhunting with hounds was recently outlawed in Britain), but Shilling brings the world of the hunt to vivid and bloody life. She lovingly and breathtakingly describes every detail, from the dressing of horse and rider and the wild determination of the hounds to the thrill of the chase, right down to the capture of the "talismanic" brush (the tail of the hunted fox). In telling the history of foxhunting, the breeding of hounds, Shilling's hunt club, her move from the city (London) to the country (Greenwich) and the transcendent emotions she feels, Shilling shifts seamlessly between past and present, personal and political. Readers might find Shilling too glib on the violence of the hunt, which she insists is neither as cruel as bullfighting nor as violent as other means of "controlling" foxes. Few may come away sharing Shilling's hunt politics, but none will fail to appreciate the provocation of her arguments nor fail to enjoy her evocative tale of her love affair with the English countryside in all its feral glory. Agent, Sarah Lutyens . (Oct. 4)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4165-4346-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-7432-7730-3
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!