Helen Oyeyemi Boy, Snow, Bird

ISBN 13: 9781447237136

Boy, Snow, Bird

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9781447237136: Boy, Snow, Bird
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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 a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome  daughter, Snow Whitman.

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 lightskinned  African Americans passing for white. Among them, 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.

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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2014: After escaping the cruel wrath of her abusive father, Boy Novak finds comfort in a small Massachusetts suburb and a widower named Arturo, whom she later marries. Boy is quite taken with Arturo's daughter Snow, but it's the daughter she has with Arturo that complicates their quiet lives--Bird's birth reveals that both Arturo and Boy are light-skinned African-Americans passing for white. Harkening back to the great passing narratives, like Charles W. Chesnutt's The Marrow of Tradition and, most notably, Passing by Nella Larsen, Boy, Snow, Bird is about both the exterior and interior complexities of racial identity. The perception of Arturo and Boy's race and social class is threatened by Bird. But it's the psychological conflicts that are the most devastating. Arturo was raised with "the idea that there was no need to ever say, that if you knew who you were then that was enough, that not saying was not the same as lying." Is passing dishonest if it isn't an active decision? Boy, Snow, Bird is a retelling of Snow White, and the wit and lyricism of Helen Oyeyemi's prose shares the qualities of a fable. But this novel isn't content to conclude with an easy moral. In fact, Oyeyemi complicates the themes she establishes. Her writerly charms shouldn't be taken for granted; the beauty of her writing hides something contemplative and vital, waiting to be uncovered by readers. --Kevin Nguyen

About the Author:

Helen Oyeyemi  is the author of five novels, most recently White Is for Witching, which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award, and Mr. Fox, which won a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2013, she was named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. She lives in Prague.

 



 

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781594633409: Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel

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