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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.
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.
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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