As seen on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, where it was described as #147;gloriously unsettling#133; evoking Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Angela Carter, Edgar Allan Poe, Gabriel García Márquez, Chris Abani and even Emily Dickinson," and already one of the year's most widely acclaimed novels: #147;Helen Oyeyemi has fully transformed from a literary prodigy into a powerful, distinctive storyteller#133;Transfixing and surprising. "#151;Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A) #147;I don't care what the magic mirror says; Oyeyemi is the cleverest in the land#133;daring and unnerving#133; Under Oyeyemi's spell, the fairy-tale conceit makes a brilliant setting in which to explore the alchemy of racism, the weird ways in which identity can be transmuted in an instant #151; from beauty to beast or vice versa. " #150; Ron Charles, The Washington Post From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty#151;the opposite of the life she's left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she'd become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy's daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold. Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.
Jessamy "Jess" Harrison, age eight, is the child of an English father and a Nigerian mother. Possessed of an extraordinary imagination, she has a hard time fitting in at school. It is only when she visits Nigeria for the first time that she makes a friend who understands her: a ragged little girl named TillyTilly. But soon TillyTilly's visits become more disturbing, until Jess realizes she doesn't actually know who her friend is at all. Drawing on Nigerian mythology, Helen Oyeyemi presents a striking variation on the classic literary theme of doubles -- both real and spiritual -- in this lyrical and bold debut.
From a prizewinning young writer, a brilliant and inventive story of love, lies, and inspiration. Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don't get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can't stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It's not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently. Mary challenges Mr. Fox to join her in stories of their own devising; and in different times and places, the two of them seek each other, find each other, thwart each other, and try to stay together, even when the roles they inhabit seem to forbid it. Their adventures twist the fairy tale into nine variations, exploding and teasing conventions of genre and romance, and each iteration explores the fears that come with accepting a lifelong bond. Meanwhile, Daphne becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, and finds her way into Mary and Mr. Fox's game. And so Mr. Fox is offered a choice: Will it be a life with the girl of his dreams, or a life with an all-too-real woman who delights him more than he cares to admit? The extraordinarily gifted Helen Oyeyemi has written a love story like no other. Mr. Fox is a magical book, endlessly inventive, as witty and charming as it is profound in its truths about how we learn to be with one another. .
Maja Carmen Carrera, the daughter of a black Cuban couple, was only five years old when the family emigrated from the Caribbean to London, leaving her with one complete memory: a woman singing eerily at the farewell party while little Maja and an older girl peered out from beneath a table. Now, almost twenty years later, Maja herself is a singer with a small band, in love with her boyfriend, pregnant and haunted by what she calls 'her Cuba. ' Growing up in London, she struggles to negotiate her history and the sense that speaking the Spanish or the English of her people's conquistadors makes her less of a black girl. But she is unable to find in herself the Ewe, Igbo, or Swahili of her roots. It seems all that's left is silence. Distance from Cuba deepens Maja's mother's faith in Santeria - the fusion of Catholicism and West African religion - and its Yoruba gods, but it also divides the family as her father rails against his wife's superstitions and the lost dreams of the Castro revolution. On the other side of the reality wall, Yemaya Saramagua lives in the Somewherehouse with two doors: one opening to London, the other to Lagos. Yemaya is troubled by the ease with which her fellow gods have disguised themselves as saints and reappeared under different names and faces. As Yemaya and Maja seek out their own truth as to where home lies, they come to the realization that transformation can be at once painful and exhilarating indeed.
An NYRB Classics OriginalThus Were Their Faces offers a comprehensive selection of the short fiction of Silvina Ocampo, undoubtedly one of the twentieth century's great masters of the story and the novella. Here are tales of doubles and impostors, angels and demons, a marble statue of a winged horse that speaks, a beautiful seer who writes the autobiography of her own death, a lapdog who records the dreams of an old woman, a suicidal romance, and much else that is incredible, mad, sublime, and delicious. Italo Calvino has written that no other writer "better captures the magic inside everyday rituals, the forbidden or hidden face that our mirrors don't show us." Jorge Luis Borges flatly declared, "Silvina Ocampo is one of our best writers. Her stories have no equal in our literature."Dark, gothic, fantastic, and grotesque, these haunting stories are among the world's most individual and finest.tic, and grotesque, these haunting stories are among the world's finest.
From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox comes an enchanting collection of intertwined stories. Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret--Oyeyemi's keys not only unlock elements of her characters' lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In "Books and Roses" one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers' fates. In "Is Your Blood as Red as This?" an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. "'Sorry' Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea" involves a "house of locks," where doors can be closed only with a key--with surprising, unobservable developments. And in "If a Book Is Locked There's Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think," a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason). Oyeyemi's tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.From the Hardcover edition.
High on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the loss of Lily, mother of twins Eliot and Miranda, and beloved wife of Luc. Miranda misses her with particular intensity. Their mazy, capricious house belonged to her mother's ancestors, and to Miranda, newly attuned to spirits, newly hungry for chalk, it seems they have never left. Forcing apples to grow in winter, revealing and concealing secret floors, the house is fiercely possessive of young Miranda. Joining voices with her brother and her best friend Ore, it tells her story: haunting in every sense, and a spine-tingling tribute to the power of magic, myth and memory. Miri I conjure you . . . 'Superbly atmospheric. The dark tones of Poe in her haunting have the elasticity of Haruki Murakami's surreal mental landscapes' Independent 'The kind of prose that creeps off the page, crawls up the spine and burrows deep into the reader's paralysed mind' Daily Mail 'White is for Witching should establish Oyeyemi as an ambitious voice in modern macabre; master of the light, lyrical touch and dark, half-hinted suggestion' The Times 'Entrancing' TLS 'Helen Oyeyemi was a literary prodigy. Now, she is ready to make the transition from wunderkind to established author. Remarkable' Daily Telegraph
Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award One of Granta's Best Young British Novelists From the acclaimed author of Boy, Snow, Bird There's something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it's been home to four generations of Silver women--Anna, Jennifer, Lily, and now Miranda, who has lived in the house with her twin brother, Eliot, ever since their father converted it to a bed-and-breakfast. The Silver women have always had a strong connection, a pull over one another that reaches across time and space, and when Lily, Miranda's mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Miranda begins suffering strange ailments. An eating disorder starves her. She begins hearing voices. When she brings a friend home, Dover's hostility toward outsiders physically manifests within the four walls of the Silver house, and the lives of everyone inside are irrevocably changed. At once an unforgettable mystery and a meditation on race, nationality, and family legacies, White is for Witching is a boldly original, terrifying, and elegant novel by a prodigious talent.
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