What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

Stories

Paperback - 2017
Average Rating:
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Winner of the PEN Open Book Award
An NPR Best Book of 2016
A Washington Post Notable Fiction Pick
A PBS NewsHour Best Book of 2016
A Slate Best Book of the Year
One of Esquire Magazine 's Best Books of 2016
One of Oprah.com's 10 Favorite Books of 2016

"Transcendent." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Flawless. . . another masterpiece from an author who seems incapable of writing anything that's less than brilliant." -- NPR

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.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2017.
Edition: First Riverhead trade paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781594634642
1594634645
Characteristics: 325 pages ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Oyeyemi continues to demonstrate her gift of storytelling. Her imaginative sentences and whimsical writing employ various aesthetics that transform the mundane into the extraordinary. The same thing is true of her witty titles: "'Sorry' Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea,” "Is Your Blood As Red As... Read More »


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k
KatG613
Oct 25, 2017

Oyeyemi is a very talented writer, who paints vivid pictures with her words. This collection of interconnected short stories feels touched by magical realism. Some stories I appreciated more than others, but the quality of writing can not be denied. In truth I think I'm not entirely smart enough to get all the subtext occurring in these stories, but I enjoyed them anyways.

l
laanaa
Jun 06, 2017

This is the first book that I read by Oyeyemi. I loved it. I felt like I was in a dream after every time I put it down.

x
xiaojunbpl12
May 06, 2017

Whimsical!
My interests, initially high, dwindled when read through "books and roses"(one gay and one lesbian couples' love is essential for the plot) and "a brief history of the homely wench society"(vs. The Bettencourt Society, on gender, teasingly fun.)

"'sorry' doesn't sweeten her tea" lost me in haunted ghost and gender identity.

"presence" and "Freddy barrandov checks...in?" appeared to have more realistic sense to me, but looped back to bewilderment.

"drownings" and "dornicka and the st. martin's day goose" were read as children's bedtime tale plus cruelty interpreted by adults.

My favorite is "is your blood as red as this?", that I could read over and over. But I still feel like being tricked and tickled like a kid trying to differentiate between puppet and puppeteer while conversing with a ghost.

Here I'm less charmed by narrative elegance in mystic way, more annoyed by achronological events and characters inserted (randomly) and withheld (purposefully).
Open endings - intended to allure or provoke? - not for me, I simply hope dream will awake in harsh reality, illusion will disperse in stark daylight.

t
tessvisser
Jul 16, 2016

This is the perfect book for someone who's reading her work for the first time; the number of main characters lends itself to her varying styles of writing and shows just how magical her stories can be.

quagga Jun 22, 2016

Realism dipped in folktales. Mysterious, unsettling stories that revolve around keys and locks. More, please!

LPL_KateG Apr 04, 2016

Yep. Favorite book of 2016 so far. These stories are MAGNIFICENT. If you're not already familiar with Oyeyemi, get your hands on this and dive into her magical, descriptive style. If you're already a fan, this may become your new favorite of hers!

a
Andrea_Librarian
Mar 24, 2016

Overall, just stunning. Oyeyemi's characters are brilliant - complex and engaging and surprising. And her storylines are unexpected; I felt like my mind was being blown with each story. Just a truly inventive writer.

I do wish the collection had ended two stories earlier, because I felt like the last two stories were weaker and ended the book on a bit of a down note.

Good for fans of Kelly Link.

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