Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi



Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi has received rave reviews from many and is a staff recommendation.  The heroine of the book is a young woman named “Boy” who has endured terrible cruelty at the hands of her father.  She leaves home at 19, looking for a new life that is the opposite of all she knows.

In Flax Hill Massachusetts she meets and marries Arturo Whitman, a widowed historian turned jeweler,  She becomes the stepmother of “Snow”.  Eventually she gives birth to their child “Bird”, and it becomes apparent that there is a family history she did not know about. 

This simple story is embellished with fantastical touches involving mirrors, shadows, classic fairytales and the tough realities of gender and race relations in the American south of the late 1940’s. The relationship between the half sisters is strained by a long period of separation but suggests a possibility of redemption. In the end, everyone must learn to live with the life that they have fashioned for themselves.

This is a beguiling, thought-provoking and beautifully written story. At times bewildering, at times gritty, it can leave the reader wanting to read more by this clever young author.

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