THE SICK FOX by Paul Brodeur
Kirkus Star


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Another fox, not in the attic, but on the banks of the Rhine in the rather lonely region of the Pfalz, is almost too obviously an analogy to be a symbol. And it is this sick fox; later proved to be rabid, which triggers a chain of events in a ""behind the moon"" rural district where a Fuhrer-prinzip much older than Hitler is operative in the local ""Chef"", Zabern. Here too Brace, an American Resident Intelligence Agent, living like a ""latter day palatine"" has found a kind of sanctuary- from his superiors, from the world; he is independent and unattached, except for an occasional night with the innkeeper's wife, a local Walkyrie. But he assumes a custodial role in the case of the poacher-shepherd who kills the rabid fox, and is then victimized by the villagers and Zabern. The shepherd is the classic ""nomad in their midst"", the alien (as were a whole persecuted people before him) and the book closes with a brutal vendetta... An effective re-statement of the German mystique of unreasoning hatred, the fear of the unknown, violence and its sphere of contagion. But Brodeur is more patently and potently a writer at his best in the outdoor world and there are some splendid landscapes and sporting scenes. It is a superior first novel with a cleancut excitement and an often virulent impact.

Pub Date: May 13th, 1963
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.