One should never look too long into the eyes of a fox.
Giselle was always warned of keeping her gaze from the cunning creatures. She never knew why until an encounter deep in the woods. Locking her eyes with the gold eyed animal, Giselle finds herself no longer in her body. To her surprise she had switched places with the fox.
In a quest to get her body back, Giselle travels across a war-ravaged country that has lost its shape. She encounters sprites, talking animals, a chicken that lays a golden egg, a court with a spider for a judge, and bloodshed and destruction.
The Old Country, by Mordicai Gerstein, is set in a land where every winter is a hundred years and every spring a miracle, where the water is like music and music is like water. It’s here that all the fairy tales come from. Gerstein’s tale draws on a wealth of storytelling tradition and dramatizes the question of what it is to be human. Giselle’s own adventure brings about questions of power and justice.
The author created a work of art through the rich voice of the characters, and through the deep vein of magic that runs through the tale. The novel is both timeless and contemporary. On one hand there is the old fashioned fable, which deals with telling of a moral lesson; and on the other hand there is the actual lesson, which brings up present issues plaguing the world.
Even with the lessons undertone, the novel was a great read. It was different from most of the books I have come across, and a pleasant surprise. Stories like this keep me coming back for more.