Fox Spirit on a Distant Cloud

Lee Murray


Chinese New Zealand author lifts the lid on hidden stories of the women of the Chinese diaspora in Aotearoa. Winner of the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize 2023.

ISBN: 978-1-98-859577-1 Categories: , , Tags: ,

About the book

Wellington, 1923, and a sixty-year-old woman hangs herself in a scullery; ten years later another woman ‘falls’ from the second floor of a Taranaki tobacconist; soon afterwards a young mother in Taumarunui slices the throat of her newborn with a cleaver.

All are women of the Chinese diaspora, who came to Aotearoa for a new life and suffered isolation and prejudice in silence. Chinese Pākehā writer Lee Murray has taken the nine-tailed fox spirit húli jīng as her narrator to inhabit the skulls of these women and others like them and tell their stories.

Fox Spirit on a Distant Cloud is an audacious blend of biography, mythology, horror and poetry that transcends genre to illuminate lives in the shadowlands of our history.

Set within the recognisable beauty and savagery of New Zealand land-and-townscapes, inspired by tragic histories, Murray weaves together shapeshifting fox mythology and darkly compelling tales of Chinese diasporic women of Aotearoa. ‘You don’t belong here, you don’t belong here, you don’t belong…’ the atua whisper, and yet in Murray’s sumptuous prose, English, te reo and Chinese coalesce. Silenced voices – bloodied, broken – cry from the margins. Lest we forget.—Alison Wong

A skilful weaving of humanity and mythology, finely drawn portraits of lives in Aotearoa steeped in longing to both belong and return home.—Renee Liang


About the author

Lee Murray is a third-generation Chinese New Zealander and multi-award-winning author, poet and anthology editor. She has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for Fiction 2023 and been made an NZSA Honorary Literary Fellow. The manuscript of Fox Spirit on a Distant Cloud won Lee the Grimshaw–Sargeson Fellowship at the development stage and the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize when it was complete. She’s won five Bram Stoker Awards, awarded by the international Horror Writers Association. Lee lives in the Bay of Plenty with her husband and son.

Photo by Maree Wilkinson Photography


Dimensions: 128 x 198mm
Number of pages: 138
Binding: soft cover