Stephan Lee
March 03, 2016 AT 03:55 PM EST

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Helen Oyeyemi
publisher
Riverhead Books
genre
Short Stories

We gave it an B+

In her first short-story collection, Oyeyemi captures the off-kilter fairy-tale magic of her 2014 masterwork, Boy, Snow, Bird. The stories all involve keys sometimes metaphorical, just as often literal—but they’re not constrained by the conceit. Shifting in genre and tone from explicitly fantastical to subtly ethereal, the tales gain entrance into a range of odd worlds, including a school for aspiring puppet masters and a sort of dystopian weight-loss clinic. Oyeyemi writes with mastery, sometimes keeping her prose sparse and declarative only to unleash a bounty of description and humor a sentence later. B+

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