White Is for Witching

White Is for Witching

Paperback - 2014
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Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award
One of Granta 's Best Young British Novelists
From the acclaimed author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours and Gingerbread

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.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2014.
Edition: First Riverhead trade paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9781594633072
Characteristics: 283 pages ; 21 cm.


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Feb 28, 2019

This is a creepy, gothic, slow burn of a book. If you like concrete endings and explanations, look somewhere else. This book is ethereal, surreal. The characters are confusing, not always fully formed, you don't know what they are and you are not privy to everything that they are doing. This book keeps you in the dark, makes you question what is going on, but that is what makes it a good read. I saw another reviewer who compared Oyeyemi to Shirley Jackson, and I think that is accurate. The pacing and storytelling remind me of the Haunting of Hill House. In Hill House, you never really know what was going on with Eleanor, and in this book you will never really know what is going on with Miranda. If you are okay with that, then I recommend it. If not, there are plenty of other books out there with not mystery left at the end.

Oct 20, 2017

This is my favourite of Oyeyemi's works thus far - its description in the catalogue summary as a slow-building Gothic-style story is SO perfect: as Miranda wanes physically, her connection to a parallel spirit world strengthens; narrators' voices coalesce on a single word (and it looks cool on the page); the house is a presence and catalytic character; the surreal is overlaid on the seemingly mundane in this and all her works and she weaves her stories deftly.

LPL_KimberlyL Sep 10, 2016

Bizarre, abstract, and perfect for this time of year! This is a haunted house story, where the house itself has a unique (and terrifying) voice. With this one, I recommend you take it slowly (the writing style might be off-putting to some), and re-read the first chapter once you're finished--things will finally start to make sense!

Cynthia_N Apr 16, 2015

Such a confusing book but I think that was the intention. Parts of the book seem rambling and other parts seem crystal clear and thats just how life is for the characters. I did enjoy it.

Sep 04, 2014

29/8 - I read up to page 58 then took the time to skim/read Richard Reviles Censorship's review to see if my problems with the book were mine alone, it wasn't encouraging. I hadn't liked the writing style or four different voices from the first lines I read. I didn't like the fact that it was ambiguous as to whose voice I was hearing from, I had to work it out from which of the other characters were mentioned by eliminating them one by one. A character called Ore had a portion of a chapter right at the beginning, some 30 pages before we actually find out who Ore is - a strangely (and needlessly) confusing situation for the reader. The blurb on the back was so promising, but was ruined (for me) by the strange language, although I may not have continued even if the language had been more normal considering some of the other problems other reviewers have pointed out.

MrDrProfessorPatrick Aug 08, 2012

It breaks my heart to see what a low rating this book has, because it is one of my favorites. Yes, the style in which it is written is quite confusing at first, but the further you get in the book, the more you start to catch on to the pattern. It's dark, mysterious, emotional, quirky, and overall, unique. I've never read anything like this and I wish more people would give it a fighting chance.

Oct 07, 2009

Very disappointing. Disorganized and fractured. Multiple narrators only confuse the story which never really comes to fruition.

melwyk Sep 23, 2009

The story begins with overtones of Snow White; apples, deathly sleep and being boxed up; but then it weaves its way through a house of mirrors until we finally come to some sort of conclusion, which is not certain or absolutely clear. What exactly has occurred? Who is responsible? It's a tale of madness and of obsession and is very spooky.

As confused as I may have been by the multiple narrators, I was also in awe of Oyeyemi's fresh voice, her ability to see things and to express them so individually. It's amazing to me to read a book so very stylistically impressive from such a young author. Both her technique and her energetic storytelling is engaging, making for quite a compulsive read.


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Sep 04, 2014

Sarah1984 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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MrDrProfessorPatrick Aug 08, 2012

"Miranda is at home- homesick, home sick..."


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