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What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Winner of the PEN Open Book Award
An NPR Best Book of 2016

A Washington Post Notable Fiction Pick
A PBS NewsHour Best Book of 2016
A Slate Best Book of the Year
One of Esquire Magazine’s Best Books of 2016
One of’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016

"Transcendent." —The New York Times Book Review

"Flawless. . . another masterpiece from an author who seems incapable of writing anything that's less than brilliant." NPR

From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and 2019's Gingerbread comes an enchanting collection of intertwined stories.

Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In “Books and Roses” one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers’ fates. In “Is Your Blood as Red as This?” an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. “‘Sorry’ Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea” involves a “house of locks,” where doors can be closed only with a key—with surprising, unobservable developments. And in “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think,” a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).
Oyeyemi’s tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 11, 2016 – In her first story collection, Oyeyemi (Boy, Snow, Bird) conjures present-day Europe, made enticingly strange by undercurrents of magic, and populated by ghosts, sentient puppets, and possible witches alongside middle-aged psychiatrists, tyrants, and feminist undergrads. Loosely linked by a theme of keys and doors, many of the stories feature female protagonists discovering their sexuality or coming into their own. In " Sorry' Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea," 14-year-old Aisha and Tyche, her father's colleague, send the goddess Hecate to torment teen idol Matyas F st for beating a prostitute; in "A Brief History of the Homely Wench Society," Aisha's sister, Dayang, is a member of a women's society at Cambridge University, waging a good-natured war against the Bettencourt Society, a rival all-male club. "Drownings" is an allegorical tale set in a dictatorship where citizens are "drowned in the gray marshlands deep in the heart of the country." "Dornicka and the St. Martin's Day Goose" is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, draw on Eastern European history and lore. And in "Presence," a married couple in London undergo a pharmaceutical trial causing them to hallucinate a son they never had, a "makeless" boy. Readers will be drawn to Oyeyemi's contagious enthusiasm for her characters and deep sympathy for their unrequited or thwarted loves.

Customer Reviews

My new favorite

Ms. Oyeyemi writes with a distinct tone that any reader/writer can appreciate. I have laughed and felt emotional in every story. I love this book. I've bought it for 2 of my family members!

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Short Stories
  • Published: Mar 08, 2016
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings