What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

what is not yours in not yoursWhat Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

Helen Oyeyemi
Short Stories
Riverhead Books
Hardcover, 336 pages
$27.00

A year or so ago we review Oyeyemi’s novel Snow, Boy, Bird which we liked a lot, but did not get much response to. Now comes her first collection of short stories. We like it just as much and hope that it gets some traction. Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria, grew up in South London and currently lives in Prague. From this cosmopolitan perch she writes stories often rooted in fairy tale right down to the “Once upon a time…” opening. In Snow, Boy, Bird we had Snow White and here we have echoes of Pinocchio and Little Red Riding Hood among others. Oyeyemi’s universe slides back and forth between fantasy and reality and alternates between playful and painful. Her titles are captivating in themselves: eg. If A Book Is Locked There’s Probably A Good Reason For That Don’t You Think or ’Sorry’ Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea.