What is Not Yours is Not Yours: Stories by Helen Oyeyemi
(Riverhead Books, 2016, 325 pages)
I wanted to give this collection of short stories a chance since so many praise Oyeyemi’s writing. There’s no question she’s a talented writer, but as with Boy, Snow, Bird, I came away feeling like I didn’t appreciate the book anywhere near as much as the critics did. Oyeyemi is young and she has an authentic voice in her writing, there is a dark, mystical quality to her work.
What is Not Yours is Not Years is comprised of nine stories, all of which feature a key or lock which loosely connects them. Rather than me attempting to characterize her work, I’ll point you to two reviews, one from the New York Times and the other from NPR. You’ll see, pretty quickly, that this book was clearly appreciated.
I’m not saying I won’t read more of her work because I know that I will. Her way with words keeps me wanting to explore her writing… I’ll probably turn to Mr. Fox next, one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books in 2011.
If you haven’t read any Oyeyemi and you appreciate thoughtful, unique literary fiction I’d encourage you to pick up one of her books.