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What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

I was so excited for Boy, Snow, Bird last year. The cover alone gave me heart palpitations. I seriously considered framing a copy and hanging it on a wall in my house. And then... nah. The concept of the story had me at hello... but it just never came together for me. Underneath the storyline that never quite grabbed me, I could feel the author's genius... it just never broke the surface for me.

So I was a little apprehensive to pick up her latest. I was wrong.

A combination of interconnected short stories, Oyeyemi's storytelling is just so robust and her thought process is something fascinating to behold. On their own, each story stands alone so fully, so the continuation of the various storylines as a little bit is revealed about each character through the different stories just enhances the overall experience. Her twisted sense-of-humor combined with some well-written magical realism takes this to the strata of something that should be taught and discussed in AP Lit classes.


From the award-winning author of "Boy, Snow, Bird" and "Mr. Fox" 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.

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