The New Yorker Best Books, 2018  •  New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice  •  Huffington Post Best Fiction of 2018  •  Kirkus Reviews Best Debut Fiction, Best Historical Fiction, and Best Books of 2018  •  Buzzfeed Best Fiction of 2018  •  Shortlisted For The Center For Fiction First Novel Prize  •  Publishers Weekly Best Summer Books 2018  •  Hollywood Reporter 10 Hot Summer Books  •  Entertainment Weekly 20 Books To Read In June  •  The Millions Most Anticipated (June)  •  Chicago Review of Boosk Best New Books June 2018   •  Booklist Reader Review Of The Week  •  Book Expo 2018 Hot Picks  •  Signature Reads Best Books June 2018   •  IO9/Gizmodo Start Your Summer Reading List   •  Bustle 16 Best Fiction Books Coming Out In June   •  Bookish Summer 2018'S Must-Read Fiction  •  Entertainment Weekly The Most Important LGBTQ Movices TV Music and Books Of 2018  •  Enterntainment Weekly "Must List"





Summary for Trade Publicity and Events

Set in the eighteenth century London underworld, this bawdy, genre-bending novel reimagines the life of thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard to tell a profound story about gender, love, and liberation.
Recently jilted and increasingly unhinged, Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. No one knows Jack’s true story—his confessions have never been found. That is, until Dr. Voth discovers a mysterious stack of papers titled Confessions of the Fox.

Dated 1724, the manuscript tells the story of an orphan named P. Sold into servitude at twelve, P struggles for years with her desire to live as “Jack.” When P falls dizzyingly in love with Bess, a sex worker looking for freedom of her own, P begins to imagine a different life. Bess brings P into the London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with London’s newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of an oncoming plague abound. At last, P becomes Jack Sheppard, one of the most notorious—and most wanted—thieves in history.

Back in the present, Dr. Voth works feverishly day and night to authenticate the manuscript. But he’s not the only one who wants Jack’s story—and some people will do whatever it takes to get it. As both Jack and Voth are drawn into corruption and conspiracy, it becomes clear that their fates are intertwined—and only a miracle will save them both.
An imaginative retelling of Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, Confessions of the Fox blends high-spirited adventure, subversive history, and provocative wit to animate forgotten histories and the extraordinary characters hidden within.

Please refer to the United Kingdom cover below for the Summary for Academic Publicity and Academic Events.


uk paperback.jpg



Summary for Academic Publicity and Academic Events

Confessions is a formally experimental novel, combining fiction, metafiction, critical theory and archival sources to re-envision the life of notorious prison-break artist, Jack Sheppard (1702-1724), who was also the inspiration for Bertolt Brecht’s 1928 Threepenny Opera and John Gay’s 1728 Beggar’s Opera. In my retelling, I draw out the previously unremarked extent to which archival representations of Sheppard as sexually deviant were central to his crafting as an icon of resistance. In this sense, I encounter the official archives symptomatically – as evincing but not fully articulating the obsessions, authorizing conditions, and utopian potentials latent within their material. My aim in the novel was thus to literalize and exacerbate those aspects of Sheppard’s gender and sexual deviance that I saw symptomatized within the archives, and to connect those particulars with the broader history of British imperialism. Building on the history of sexology, prison records, early-modern memoir, jailhouse confessions, and the birth of British policing and colonial projects, I created a version of Sheppard’s life that doubles as an explicitly fictionalized and speculative history of queer and trans sexuality. In this sense, the novel both creates a narrative life-world for readers to imagine and to connect with alternate histories of sex and gender, as well as presents and proposes an innovative methodology for working with – and pushing the boundaries of – the official archives. Confessions is as much about what escapes the grasp of recorded histories as it is about the archive as such. It is, in this way, an argument for fiction as the necessary complement to the archive – a shadow liming the contours of the occluded, elided and sequestered potentialities crystallized within recorded history. 



Praise for
Confessions of the Fox

This book will make you want to run out into the street, set a jail on fire, and make out with someone beautiful in the ruins of Carceral Capitalism, and that’s about all you really need to know.
Confessiona of the Fox is so goddammed good. Reading it was like an out-of-body experience. I want to run through the streets screaming about it. It should be in the personal canon of every Queer & Non-Cis person. Read it.
Academic intrigue meets the 18th-century underworld in Rosenberg’s astonishing and mesmerizing debut, which juxtaposes queer and trans theory, heroic romance, postcolonial analysis, and speculative fiction.
A mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid, 18th-century London, Rosenberg’s debut novel is a joyous mash-up of literary genres shot through with queer theory and awash in sex, crime and revolution.