The Opposite House

The Opposite House

3.38 (623 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
By (author) 

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Maja Carmen Carrera, the daughter of a black Cuban couple, was only five years old when the family emigrated from the Caribbean to London, leaving her with one complete memory: a woman singing eerily at the farewell party while little Maja and an older girl peered out from beneath a table. Now, almost twenty years later, Maja herself is a singer with a small band, in love with her boyfriend, pregnant and haunted by what she calls 'her Cuba.' Growing up in London, she struggles to negotiate her history and the sense that speaking the Spanish or the English of her people's conquistadors makes her less of a black girl. But she is unable to find in herself the Ewe, Igbo, or Swahili of her roots. It seems all that's left is silence. Distance from Cuba deepens Maja's mother's faith in Santeria - the fusion of Catholicism and West African religion - and its Yoruba gods, but it also divides the family as her father rails against his wife's superstitions and the lost dreams of the Castro revolution. On the other side of the reality wall, Yemaya Saramagua lives in the Somewherehouse with two doors: one opening to London, the other to Lagos.
Yemaya is troubled by the ease with which her fellow gods have disguised themselves as saints and reappeared under different names and faces. As Yemaya and Maja seek out their own truth as to where home lies, they come to the realization that transformation can be at once painful and exhilarating indeed.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 135 x 216mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Export ed
  • 0747590672
  • 9780747590675
  • 2,341,570

Review quote

Praise for THE ICARUS GIRL: The author plays numerous sophisticated games with notions of twinship and identity a highly auspicious fictional debut.' Sunday Times 'This strange, grief-charged narrative remains believable because of the directness of its voice a bleakness in the light, bright state of childhood is the real subject of this curiously wild, curiously blithely-voiced novel.' Ali Smith 'Flickering between viciousness and vulnerability, THE ICARUS GIRL is a compulsive, disrupting read.' Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph 'Deserving of all its praise, this is a masterly first novel - and a nightmarish story that will haunt Oyeyemi's readers for months to come.' New York Times
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About Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria in 1984 and moved to London when she was four. She is the author of the highly acclaimed novel The Icarus Girl,which she wrote while she was still at school, and two plays, Juniper's Whitening and Victimese, both published by Methuen.
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Rating details

623 ratings
3.38 out of 5 stars
5 17% (103)
4 26% (165)
3 39% (246)
2 14% (88)
1 3% (21)
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