BOOK REVIEW: Every Fox is a Rabid Fox

Every Fox is a Rabid Fox’ reflects issues of class, mental illness and how the unhappiness, depression and toxic masculinity of older generations are passed down to their children – sounds like a cheery number, that’s just from the blurb on the back of the book.

You will be hard pressed though to read another book from an independent press with such gravitas as Gallon and his Rabid Fox. It’s arrestingly brilliant, refreshingly non-apologetic and deals with the here and now, the big issues that our society and communities face, the issues we’re afraid to talk about and that those that are leading the country hope will go away, such as mental health, class division and hereditary masculinity / homophobic complexes passed down from father to son.

Harry Gallon is a longtime collaborator with STORGY Magazine and someone we have watched with interest. STORGY Magazine ran its yearly Short Story Competition in 2013 in which Harry Gallon was a shortlisted author for his short story ‘Missing Pieces’ which you can read here click here. He has since gone on to write his debut novella ‘The Shapes of Dogs’ Eyes’ which was first runner up for Best Novella at the 2016 Saboteur Awards and was also longlisted for Not the Booker Prize 2016.

‘Every Fox is a Rabid Fox’ is a story of life, of survival, of how easy it is to be shaped by the terrible things of our past or the situations one finds themselves in. Rabid Fox reminds us that the past shapes our future, that the scars we have remind us that the past is real and for our main protagonist the scars are just the beginning, what with traumatic incidents, a combustive home life and his constant haunting by his dead sister, all causes him to live life in a world that refuses to stop to let him and us catch our breath.

‘If you drop those limbs they bounce. If my parents dropped her when she was pulled out, dead, and placed into their arms, if they’d dropped her, just to see what dropping a baby felt like without doing any harm because its cream-egg-sized heart wasn’t beating. Would she have bounced? I wonder.

Boing.

A Bouncy ball bouncing off the walls.

Did she even have bones?

I could never grip and choke her like a twin brother is, play fighting, supposed to.

Boing.’

Gallon writes with such disregard for the rules that his writing comes across both shockingly vibrant, ground breaking and brutal all at the same time. I’d liken his writing in ‘Every Fox is a Rabid Fox’ to that of a young Bret Easton Ellis (think Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction and American Psycho and you’d be in the right ballpark). Gallon is writing his story his way and you better sit up and pay attention. There is nothing off limits with Gallon’s writing whether that be talking about dead babies, masturbation, horrifically gruesome details that can turn the strongest of stomachs – his sisters appearance in the bathroom springs to mind. I’d say that ‘Every Fox is a Rabid Fox’ is a very brave choice of publishing from Dead Ink Books, but I believe that the freedom they have offered Gallon to produce a book of this calibre and to champion it, will bare rewards and plaudits in the year ahead – their giving a voice to a young, talented and exciting writer is something beautiful to behold.

‘And maybe, then, after splatting endorphins all over my stomach, or the pair of dirty boxers I usually take off and use as a mop, and after lying for fifteen more minutes with my limbs growing colder in the air growing bluer and the sheets even greyer and a finger fiddling in the splash of puddle, acting much like a curious child who hasn’t seen something that strange before, or even tasted mud (just to see what it’s like), feeling the void-like space in my arse left by the deflation of enlarged prostate stress, dry but a little crispy (will have to bathe for another three house) after relentlessly tugging my doughy cock, underfilled, underpressurised, underused by someone other than you (me), until the final build to the depressing, pathetic and ultimately uninteresting crescendo, I’ll fall asleep, and NOT dream of the kukri knife. The notch, the blade being pulled across the stranger’s throat, catching blood in a Tupperware bowl. Surgical gloves.’

There is a bit in ‘Every Fox is a Rabid Fox’ which had me reminiscing about my childhood. About a time when you had to come up with your own entertainment instead of staring at a screen or making friends with people you don’t know and sharing with them photos of what you’ve eaten, wearing and if you feel like it and if the mood takes you…naked photos. The scene I am talking about is where our main protagonist and his brother are building their own hand grenade using varying parts of old unspent shotgun shells. The reason I loved this so much was that it reminded me of a trip to France; in a time before terrorism and extreme security checks.

I was on a school trip in France (Paris to be precise) we were told not to purchase any bangers by our guardians on the trip. When given our free time and using the money our parents diligently gave us to spend on food, keyrings and postcards. However we’d purchased almost every banger in Paris. I smuggled the explosives back on the ferry. Smuggled the explosives into my bedroom and placed them in a metal biscuit tin under my bed. They would be used another time, when my parents were out and the only person who would know would be the octogenarian next door, but I hadn’t seen her for some time and there had been a bad smell coming from her house lately. Then one sunny day when my parents were at work and I was on school holidays, I created my rather large explosives and blew up many of my action force figures. Later burying their decapitated and battle scarred bodies in shallow unnamed graves, which in the years to come would be dug up by my mother planting, cats or some Rabid Fox.

Gallon has an unnerving ability to bring the reader into his deftly crafted and disturbing world of ‘Every Fox is a Rabid Fox’. Gallon’s prose is at times a wonder to behold, intelligent and elegantly woven and full of beautiful similes and an exquisite use of metaphors, makes reading ‘Every Fox’ a spectacular literary assault to the senses. Gallon seems to be at home when writing about people, places and the boring parts of life, breathing new life into the drab and dreary things we take for granted that often pass us by in our busyness of life. His ability and knack for writing dialogue is something that could have come watching people, observing people in their natural habitats like an ethologist – frantically writing notes and delivering time after time vivid believable dialogue with subtle cadences, rhythms and original convincing content.

We could be witnessing the birth of a new challenging voice in fiction. An author who is comfortable in his own skin and challenges us to journey with his protagonist through the horrors that litter the pages before you. With writing reminiscent of a young and unflinching Bret Easton Ellis and the unapologetic brilliance of a Chuck Palahniuk, Harry Gallon is a name you need to remember and a voice you wont forget.

Harry Gallon’s ‘Every Fox is a Rabid Fox’ is brutal and ruthless writing at its best, in my opinion best summed up by the Crack Fox from the Mighty Boosh.

‘Bludgeon my face in, kill me, pull me apart like soft bread, punch me in the…tits. Twist my head clean off, put me to sleep with your kind boots, Mr. Fancy Man!’ – Crack Fox

Every Fox is a Rabid Fox’ is out in July, I’d recommend you get yourself a copy, support an independent press and support a brave new voice!

Harry Gallon

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Harry Gallon’s work features in numerous publications and has won (and almost won), several competitions. His debut novel, The Shapes of Dogs’ Eyes (Dead Ink Books), was first runner up for Best Novella at the 2016 Saboteur Awards, and was longlisted for Not the Booker Prize 2016. His second is being published in spring 2017. He lives in London.

Every Fox is a Rabid Fox was published by Dead Ink on 25th May 2017.

You can purchase a copy of Every Fox is a Rabid Fox from FoylesWaterstones, or The Book Depository:

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To discover more about Dead Ink click here

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Review by Ross Jeffery

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Unlike many other Arts & Entertainment Magazines, STORGY is not Arts Council funded or subsidised by external grants or contributions. The content we provide takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, and relies on the talented authors we publish and the dedication of a devoted team of staff writers. If you enjoy reading our Magazine, help to secure our future and enable us to continue publishing  the words of our writers. Please make a donation or subscribe to STORGY Magazine with a monthly fee of your choice. Your support, as always, continues to inspire.

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