Review of Ani Fox, “Coyote Now Wears a Suit”, Apex Magazine 112 (2018): Read Online. Reviewed by Joanna Z. Weston.
Kupua is not thrilled when her family asks her to come down to the courthouse to get somebody she didn’t even know out of jail, but when the person in question turns out to be Coyote, things get downright weird. For starters, what is Coyote even doing in Hawaii?
This is one of the best takes on Coyote I’ve seen in ages. He (or is it she? Tricksters are so hard to pin down, much like our narrator) breaks Kapua’s life open with chaos that is anything but innocent. Sometimes, depictions of Coyote lack bite, but not here. This Coyote isn’t concerned about pain, or a bit of collateral damage. He isn’t being cruel without reason – everything he destroys, from Kupua’s relationships to her secrets, needed to end for her to move forward – but I got the sense that this was a test as much as a kindness. If Kupua hadn’t risen to the challenge, Coyote would shrug and walk away.
This story is jam-packed. It not only has one of the most popular trickster figures in literature, this story takes a cold, hard look at the discrimination faced by native Hawaiians, stares down issues of gender and sexual orientation, and pulls no punches. All that, and the story is a roller coaster of excitement from start to finish.