Boy, Snow, Bird is author Helen Oyeyemi’s fifth novel that explores race and identity. The book tells the story of Boy, who has escaped an abusive life in New York for a more calmer, settled existence in small town Massachusetts. She marries a local widower Arturo, who has a daughter of his own Snow. Both Arturo and Snow are light skinned African-American’s who could pass for white. When Boy and Arturo give birth to their own daughter Bird, who is darker in complexion, it causes family secrets to be exposed and forces Boy to face her own insecurities.
Oyeyemi fuses elements of a familiar fairy tale to cleverly narrate this magical tale of ‘family secrets, race, beauty and vanity’.
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 light-skinned 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.
In 2010, Cambridge graduate Oyeyemi was awarded a Somerset Maughann Award for her third novel White is for Witching’ and a Zora Neale Hurston /Richard Wright Foundation Award in 2012 for her fourth, Mr Fox. Last year, Granta coined her as one of their ‘Best Young British Novelists’.
Boy, Snow, Bird is available to buy at Amazon and is due for release tomorrow (February 27, 2014). Click here to learn more.See Also: