Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi


Five stars, read in February 2018.

Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy.

Despite one of the best first lines I’ve ever read, I’m certain I wouldn’t have finished this if I hadn’t read, and been so impressed by, What is Not Yours is Not Yours. The only other book I’ve had as hard a time processing was The Girl in the Road, by Monica Byrne; and as with that book, I have impossibly mixed feelings about the protagonist, Boy. I was also frustrated by an ending that came where it seemed like the actual story was just about to begin.

This is a fairy tale retelling, which makes so many things feel significant that otherwise wouldn’t, and makes me feel like I missed half of what I was supposed to catch. I have so many questions. Boy, Snow, and Bird, and three sections in the book, but only Boy and Bird narrate. (I was pretty disappointed when it went back to Boy. I don’t think I like her, but in a way I’m impressed by her too, and I might believe what Frank said about her.) Now we know who Frank is, in the end, and what happened to Boy’s mother . . . but why/so what/what did it all mean? What happens in the mirrors?

It was a windy morning, and the wind pushed me, and the road dragged me, and the tree branches flew forward and peeled back and broke away, and their scrawny trunks hugged each other.

Once again with Helen Oyeyemi, I think I love her book and I know I don’t understand it. This one frustrates me more than the first, probably because it’s a novel instead of short stories, so I was able to get in deeper. Giving it the star rating literally (according to Goodreads’s system); this book was amazing, in spite or because of existing an unknown distance above my head. I will absolutely be reading more of her books.

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