What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours – Helen Oyeyemi


Helen 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?

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What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours


The stories collected in What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours are linked by more than the exquisitely winding prose. Helen Oyeyemi’s ensemble cast of characters slip from the pages of their own stories only to surface in another.

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. Of course this comes with surprising, unobservable developments. 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, but why?

You will be taken to a world of lost libraries and locked gardens. A world of marshlands where the drowned dead live and a city where all the clocks have stopped. Students hone their skills at puppet school, the Homely Wench Society commits a guerrilla book-swap. The lovers exchange books and roses on St Jordi’s Day.

It is a collection of towering imagination, marked by baroque beauty and a deep sensuousness.

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