Boy, Snow, Bird

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Boy, Snow, Bird

by Helen Oyeyemi

HAMISH HAMILTON CANADA | March 4, 2014 | Trade Paperback

Boy, Snow, Bird is rated 2.5556 out of 5 by 9.

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as lightskinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.35 × 5.75 × 0.85 in

Published: March 4, 2014

Publisher: HAMISH HAMILTON CANADA

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143187430

ISBN - 13: 9780143187431

Found in: Fiction and Literature
When was the last time you read a book that made you want to call a friend and insist they read it, not just because it was a fantastic read, but because you absolutely, immediately needed someone you could talk to about it? Boy, Snow, Bird is that book. Helen Oyeyemi’s new novel is a fascinating, brilliant, and surprisingly charming story of a mother and two daughters struggling to invent themselves while fumbling and failing to understand each other. Boy is the mother, a woman with nerves of cold steel, Snow is the beautiful, enigmatic step-daughter, and Bird is the precocious, dark-skinned child whose birth reveals the mixed-race heritage her family worked so hard to hide. Together Boy, Snow, and Bird tell a story that echoes Snow White, full of mirrors and masks, jealousy and suspicion, and all the ways we hide from ourselves. It’s a relentlessly original re-imagination, a matryoshka doll of a book with truths nesting inside lies, and characters who reveal themselves momentarily before Oyeyemi wraps them in another layer of mystery. Boy, Snow, Bird is not a book you’ll be able to keep to yourself. It’s a stunning puzzle that will leave you thinking, sharing, and talking – it is a book that refuses to let go of you.

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not worth the read This book was recommended by so many people and was on the bestseller list that I decided to give it a try. I didn't find the book to be engaging enough. My interest was lost very easily and it was such a boring read. I would not recommend.
Date published: 2014-08-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mediocre Story, hollow characters I bought this book based on the great reviews and was excited to read it. My excitement faded throughout the novel. The storyline had great potential, yet the characters were barely developed. It was difficult to understand the motivations of the character's actions because I didn't "know" them. They were merely shells to me. I was happy to see that something big happened in the final act; however, it so was rushed that it let me waiting for more detail and explanation.
Date published: 2014-08-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from SueA One of the worst books I have ever read, skipped 75% of it and had a hard time getting through the remaining 25%. A friend warned me that it was not good but thought I'd try reading it anyway, big mistake.
Date published: 2014-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heather's reads bought this as a gift for my sister. So many people have said it was a good read. It's different from others and has come highly recommended from many people
Date published: 2014-05-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very Disappointing! Each year my book club and another comes together to read and share our thoughts on one book, this year we chose Boy, Snow, Bird. The description and synopsis sound so wonderful, I really looked forward to this book and so wanted it to be good. However I found the story and the writing difficult to follow. It is not my style to be so negative, but this not only gets a thumbs down from me but of the twelve of us only 2 marginally liked it. I would recommend anyone considering this to pass on it.
Date published: 2014-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Almost fabulous I read some wonderful reviews and was eager to dive in to what promised to be a gratifying read. The first two parts did not disappoint. Elegantly written, original, and thought-provoking, Oyeyemi's story of Boy, Snow, and Bird had me captivated. Sadly, the final Act felt hastily thrown together and poorly resolved. What could have been an interesting layer to the stories of these generations of women felt more gratuitous than enriching. After such a rich, enjoyable start, the book left me feeling disappointed and somewhat cheated. Overall, Boy, Snow, Bird is worth the read.
Date published: 2014-04-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great premise, but didn't like the main character The premise of the book was very appealing to me, a white woman marries a man who appears to be white and then gives birth to a coloured daughter. Lots of possibilities begging to be explored. Unfortunately, I didn't like the main character Boy Novak. Beyond being pretty and fair, there just wasn't anything to her. I couldn't relate to her in any way. She had no convictions, nothing that she believed in , nothing she championed, nothing to like about her. She was just as transparent as the mirrors and shiny surfaces she kept gazing into. Boy's in laws were only concerned with image, what other people saw them as. Not my kind of people in the least. So very careful about everything they did so as not to rock the false boat that they found themselves living in. I can understand why they choose to live that way, but to not have included Boy in their secret, that was wrong. I did enjoy the character of Bird. She seemed like a delightful child who was able to be herself, though she was conflicted by the obsessions of her family. Of all the people in the book, she struck me at the one most capable of being truly happy. I do think that I would have enjoyed this book more if I'd been reading it with a group and been able to discuss the whats and whys and the historical context of the events. It would be a wonderful selection for a book club.
Date published: 2014-08-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Looked interesting. Too long, too detailed, boring. Sorry.
Date published: 2014-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book that refuses to let go When was the last time you read a book that made you want to call a friend and insist they read it, not just because it was a fantastic read, but because you absolutely, immediately needed someone you could talk to about it? Boy, Snow, Bird is that book. Helen Oyeyemi’s new novel is a fascinating, brilliant, and surprisingly charming story of a mother and two daughters struggling to invent themselves while fumbling and failing to understand each other. Boy is the mother, a woman with nerves of cold steel, Snow is the beautiful, enigmatic step-daughter, and Bird is the precocious, dark-skinned child whose birth reveals the mixed-race heritage her family worked so hard to hide. Together Boy, Snow, and Bird tell a story that echoes Snow White, full of mirrors and masks, jealousy and suspicion, and all the ways we hide from ourselves. It’s a relentlessly original re-imagination, a matryoshka doll of a book with truths nesting inside lies, and characters who reveal themselves momentarily before Oyeyemi wraps them in another layer of mystery. Boy, Snow, Bird is not a book you’ll be able to keep to yourself. It’s a stunning puzzle that will leave you thinking, sharing, and talking – it is a book that refuses to let go of you.
Date published: 2014-06-02

– More About This Product –

Boy, Snow, Bird

by Helen Oyeyemi

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.35 × 5.75 × 0.85 in

Published: March 4, 2014

Publisher: HAMISH HAMILTON CANADA

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143187430

ISBN - 13: 9780143187431

From the Publisher

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as lightskinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.

Editorial Reviews

"Both exquisitely beautiful and strange.. Oyeyemi casts a powerful light on the absurdities accompanying the history of race in America and the Western world, while taking us to the landscape of Grimm''s Fairy Tales. She brilliantly raises the questions of what identifies us racially: Is it our color? Our genes? Our history? Our culture?. It is a powerful examination of the way we see others and the way others see us. And therein lies the beauty of Oyeyemi''s tale; we all are not, as Boy, Snow, Bird convinces us, what we appear to be, even to ourselves." - Dallas Morning News
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