Gingerbread
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Gingerbread

3.45 (269 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

`A writer of sentences so elegant that they gleam' - Ali Smith

Perdita Lee may appear your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor flat with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there's the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it's very popular in Druhastrana, the far-away (and, according to Wikipedia, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee's early youth. In fact, the world's truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread is Harriet's charismatic childhood friend, Gretel Kercheval - a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.

Years later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother's long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet's story, as well as a reunion or two. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value.

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children's stories - equal parts wholesome and uncanny; from the tantalizing witch's house in Hansel and Gretel to the man-shaped confection who one day decides to run as fast as he can - beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi's inimitable style and imagination, Gingerbread is a true feast for the reader.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 143 x 223 x 28mm | 436g
  • PICADOR
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1447299418
  • 9781447299417
  • 1,335

Review quote

This is fact and fiction that's not for the faint-hearted, but is written with such verve and energy that it's hard to resist -- Emerald Street Like Harriet's ever-changeable recipe, Oyeyemi's novel is both "the kind your teeth snap into shards, and the kind your teeth sink into" -- Catherine Taylor * New Statesman * Oyeyemi's novels are shadowy, elegant and head into entirely unexpected territory . . . Original and uncanny * Mail on Sunday * Wild, luscious and startling . . . Oyeyemi glides seamlessly across time, space and genre -- Financial Times on What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Oyeyemi's great skill is to interleave and interweave the fantastical and the political. In this respect, she is akin to writers such as Tea Obrecht, Jenni Fagan and Naomi Alderman, who manage to make the eerie and the urgent close. Gingerbread is at one and the same time - like the double eyes - a reworking of fable and an incisive look at class, migration, exclusion and loss -- Stuart Kelly * Scotland on Sunday * Idiosyncratically brilliant, she spins a tale about three generations of women and the gingerbread that is their curse and their legacy . . . This fantastic and fantastical romp is a wonderful addition to her formidable canon. * Publishers Weekly * The sly elegance and surrealism of Oyeyemi's writing weave a spell around a story that once again concerns adolescent wounds, misplaced love and family lies -- Amanda Craig * Literary Review * Whimsical and mischievous, a modern-mythic romp that's very clever (maybe at times too clever), often frustrating, always fun . . . Oyeyemi is a delightful writer -- Francesca Carington * Daily Telegraph * Her sentences are like grabbing onto the tail of a vibrant, living creature without knowing what you'll find at the other end. It's absolutely exhilarating . . . Fans of Oyeyemi's will expect an electric, genre-defying style, and won't be disappointed. New readers should prepare to be dizzied . . . Gingerbread is jarring, funny, surprising, unsettling, disorienting and rewarding. It requires the reader to be quick-footed and alert. And by the end, it is clear what has grounded the story from the start - the tender and troubling humanity of its characters . . . This is a wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel -- Eowyn Ivey * New York Times * One of our most singular and inventive contemporary voices. The great joy of Oyeyemi's work is its sense of complete freedom . . . when the quality of the writing - and the scope of the imagination - is this good, it's hard not to be swept away . . . There is much to revel in here: Oyeyemi's inventions are as surprising and as deft as her modern-mythic prose style . . . Oyeyemi's sentences continually sparkle with viciously precise humour . . . Gingerbread is delicious -- Stuart Evers * Spectator * Written with such verve and energy that it's hard to resist * Emerald Street * Open this book, I entreat you, and get lost in a new country . . . Oyeyemi's whirling sparkler of a story is loving, strange and entirely exhilarating -- Marina Endicott Rich, clever . . . lively and playful . . . both thoughtful and lavish . . . a bold book with a great deal of depth and mischief * Financial Times * Endlessly inventive * The Oprah Magazine *
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About Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi is the author of The Icarus Girl, The Opposite House, White is for Witching (which won the Somerset Maugham Award), Mr Fox and the short-story collection What is Not Yours is Not Yours. In 2013, Helen was included in Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.
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Rating details

269 ratings
3.45 out of 5 stars
5 23% (61)
4 29% (79)
3 25% (68)
2 16% (44)
1 6% (17)
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