As seen on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, where it was described as “gloriously unsettling… evoking Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Angela Carter, Edgar Allan Poe, Gabriel García Márquez, Chris Abani and even Emily Dickinson,” and already one of the year’s most widely acclaimed novels:
“Helen Oyeyemi has fully transformed from a literary prodigy into a powerful, distinctive storyteller…Transfixing and surprising.”—Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)
“I don’t care what the magic mirror says; Oyeyemi is the cleverest in the land…daring and unnerving… Under Oyeyemi’s spell, the fairy-tale conceit makes a brilliant setting in which to explore the alchemy of racism, the weird ways in which identity can be transmuted in an instant — from beauty to beast or vice versa.” – Ron Charles, The Washington Post
From the prizewinning author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, coming February 2016, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.
In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries Arturo Whitman, a local widower, and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow.
A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African-Americans passing for white. And even as Boy, Snow, and Bird are divided, their estrangement is complicated by an insistent curiosity about one another. In seeking an understanding that is separate from the image each presents to the world, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.
Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.
The latest novel from Oyeyemi (Mr. Fox) is about a woman named Boy; her stepdaughter, Snow; and her daughter, Bird. Set in the 1950s Massachusetts, the novel is a retelling of the Snow White tale that plays on the concept of "fairest of them all," complete with mirrors as a recurring motif. The story begins with Boy's headlong escape from her abusive father in New York City. She washes up in a small New England town where she meets Arturo Whitman, a widower who becomes her husband. When their daughter, Bird, is born, she is noticeably "colored," though her half-sister, Snow (Arturo's daughter), appears not to be. Boy, who is white, discovers that her husband's family are African-Americans passing as white. Snow is sent away to be raised by an aunt, and the book's middle section is narrated by Bird, who is as whip smart, wry, and irresistible as Boy. Oyeyemi wields her words with economy and grace, and she rounds out her story with an inventive plot and memorable characters.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Best book to ever be published, more work from the author, one gifted and vibrant individual might I add!!!
Started off strong...
The book started off strong, pretty simple story line but engaging enough you continue to read it. Then some part 2/3rds through, the book a switch goes off and it's just constant rambling boring dialog filled with letters so the story didn't have to be actually worked into the story. It changed from one thing to another in almost every aspect.
...with the above readers. I read the book without knowing the basic plot line which always makes for a more interesting read. She is an incredible writer and seeing the world from then unusual mind of Snow was very interesting to me. The story was very fairytale like, so when the twist comes crashing in with a slap of modern reality, I was very surprised.
I wasn't always happy with the writer's choices, but I really respected the writing and appreciated the journey. I will definitely read more of Oyeyemi's work.