Set in the cities and islands of the Mediterranean, and linked thematically, the eight stories in The Foxes Come At Night read more like a novel, a meditation on memory, life and death. Their protagonists collect and reconstruct fragments of lives lived intensely, and now lost, crystallized in memory or in the detail of a photograph. In 'Paula', the narrator evokes the mysterious, brief life of a woman he once loved; in 'Paula II', the same woman is aware of the man thinking of her. No longer a body, she is slowly fading into the distance, remembering the time they spent together, and his fear of the black night when the foxes appear. And yet the tone of these stories is far from pessimistic: it seems that death is nothing to be afraid of. Nooteboom is a superb stylist who observes the world with a combination of melancholy and astonishment. These stories are textured with humour, pathos and vast knowledge, the hallmarks of this outstanding and highly respected European writer.

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