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Gingerbread Hardcover – 7 Mar 2019
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Endlessly inventive (The Oprah Magazine)
Rich, clever . . . lively and playful . . . both thoughtful and lavish . . . a bold book with a great deal of depth and mischief (Financial Times)
Open this book, I entreat you, and get lost in a new country . . . Oyeyemi's whirling sparkler of a story is loving, strange and entirely exhilarating (Marina Endicott)
Written with such verve and energy that it’s hard to resist (Emerald Street)
One of our most singular and inventive contemporary voices. The great joy of Oyeyemi's work is its sense of complete freedom . . . when the quality of the writing - and the scope of the imagination - is this good, it's hard not to be swept away . . . There is much to revel in here: Oyeyemi's inventions are as surprising and as deft as her modern-mythic prose style . . . Oyeyemi's sentences continually sparkle with viciously precise humour . . . Gingerbread is delicious (Stuart Evers Spectator)
Her sentences are like grabbing onto the tail of a vibrant, living creature without knowing what you’ll find at the other end. It’s absolutely exhilarating . . . Fans of Oyeyemi's will expect an electric, genre-defying style, and won't be disappointed. New readers should prepare to be dizzied . . . Gingerbread is jarring, funny, surprising, unsettling, disorienting and rewarding. It requires the reader to be quick-footed and alert. And by the end, it is clear what has grounded the story from the start - the tender and troubling humanity of its characters . . . This is a wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel (Eowyn Ivey New York Times)
Whimsical and mischievous, a modern-mythic romp that’s very clever (maybe at times too clever), often frustrating, always fun . . . Oyeyemi is a delightful writer (Francesca Carington Daily Telegraph)
The sly elegance and surrealism of Oyeyemi's writing weave a spell around a story that once again concerns adolescent wounds, misplaced love and family lies (Amanda Craig Literary Review)
Idiosyncratically brilliant, she spins a tale about three generations of women and the gingerbread that is their curse and their legacy . . . This fantastic and fantastical romp is a wonderful addition to her formidable canon. (Publishers Weekly)
Oyeyemi's great skill is to interleave and interweave the fantastical and the political. In this respect, she is akin to writers such as Téa Obrecht, Jenni Fagan and Naomi Alderman, who manage to make the eerie and the urgent close. Gingerbread is at one and the same time - like the double eyes - a reworking of fable and an incisive look at class, migration, exclusion and loss (Stuart Kelly Scotland on Sunday)
Helen Oyeyemi, the prize-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and What is Not Yours is Not Yours, returns with a bewitching and inventive novel about motherhood, family legacy and . . . gingerbread.See all Product description
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Many reviews state that the plot of the story is difficult to follow. I did not necessarily find this to be true, especially after the first two chapters. However you should be prepared for quick, sometimes improbable plot twists. And don't expect to have all your questions neatly tied up with a bow on top by the end of the book.
Other than that, enjoy the treat!
Harriet Lee and her teenage daughter, Perdita, live in London. Harriet bakes gingerbread that tastes "like eating revenge." They have dolls that are sentient.
Harriet says she is originally from Druhustrana, a non-existent country. Perdita desperately wants to reunite her mother with her Druhastranian friend, Gretel Kercheval. The Lee family gingerbread recipe was stolen from the Kercheval family.
In an effort to understand her heritage, Perdita tries making the recipe, but adds ingredients and
winds up in a coma. Harriet knows she finally owes her daughter the long-avoided truth about her origins.
Oyeyemi takes the familiar children's tale and twists it into something completely different. I may be in the minority on this one, but I was just lost most of the time, without the benefits of a bread-crumb trail. Oyeyemi writes beautifully, but I just could not enjoy it.
In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a review.