Review Round Up: Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Helen Oyeyemi’s latest novel inspired by fairytales and tradition.

The Guardian: “There is no boundary, in Oyeyemi’s work, between the magical and the real: and no such boundary exists in the human imagination. When blending the two there is always the risk of whimsy, and Gingerbread falls on the whimsical side of the scale. But Oyeyemi is a writer of wit and courage, qualities that ensure she will continue to build her own dreams, unfettered by the constraints of genre, unbounded by the plain old mortal world.”

Washington Post: “a challenging, mind-bending exploration of class and female power heavily spiced with nutmeg and sweetened with molasses. If you think you know where you’re going in this forest, you’ll soon be lost. Oyeyemi has built her house out of something far more complex than candy.” “Gingerbread is an enchanting masterpiece by an author who’s refreshingly unafraid to be joyful, and it proves that Oyeyemi is one of the best English-language authors in the world today.” “The true appeal of Gingerbread is in such eye-searing descriptions — of pastry turned blazing hot with vengeance and murder, so hot that it melts the spoon used to mix it and would, one has to imagine, ecstatically incinerate the tongue of the person who ate it. To appreciate it is to read it more for those descriptions, for Oyeyemi’s shivery imagery and turns of phrase, than to find out what happens next. What happens next is beside the point.”

NY Times: “This is a wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel that requires some effort and attention from its reader. And that is just one of its many pleasures.”

Evening Standard: “Oyeyemi’s inventiveness cannot be discounted but one only wishes it had been channelled to more coherent and satisfying purpose.” “Oyeyemi’s point can sometimes seem as elusive as that house, but the charm evident on every page of this novel is enough to lure any reader through its twistier passages, and gradually the novel’s ideas emerge from the thicket of droll jokes, fantastical occurrences, and the occasional reference to Lady Gaga.”

Kirkus Reviews: “Readers familiar with Oyeyemi’s work will not be surprised to learn thather latest plot sets off in one direction and immediately takes a hairpin curve in another (and another, and still another). The effect is heady, surreal, and disarming—you have to be willing to surrender to Oyeyemi’s vision and the delicious twists and turns of her prose. Oyeyemi fans will likely be charmed. New readers will wonder what on Earth they’ve discovered.”

The Scotsman: “Despite its flamboyance and occasionally coy style, this is a novel about poverty, exploitation, the arid lives of the wealthy and the desperate lives of the disadvantaged. It is also, at points, very funny, especially in the scenes satirising the local PPA – Parent Power Association – skewering a certain middle class myopia.”

The FT: “Yet this is a bold book with a great deal of depth and mischief to it that makes you think how astonishing it would be to have our parents sit up with us for a whole night and tell us in fine detail what they have lived.”

Paste Magazine: “Where Oyeyemi’s previous novels that riff on fairy tales can be linked to a genre archetype, Gingerbread reads more like multiple fairy tales wrapped up in one. Oyeyemi avoids clean endings and lessons, opting to launch her central characters in a new direction instead.”

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi is available to buy now.

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