Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award
One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists
From the acclaimed author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, Gingerbread, and Peaces
There’s something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it’s been home to four generations of Silver women—Anna, Jennifer, Lily, and now Miranda, who has lived in the house with her twin brother, Eliot, ever since their father converted it to a bed-and-breakfast. The Silver women have always had a strong connection, a pull over one another that reaches across time and space, and when Lily, Miranda’s mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Miranda begins suffering strange ailments. An eating disorder starves her. She begins hearing voices. When she brings a friend home, Dover’s hostility toward outsiders physically manifests within the four walls of the Silver house, and the lives of everyone inside are irrevocably changed. At once an unforgettable mystery and a meditation on race, nationality, and family legacies, White is for Witching is a boldly original, terrifying, and elegant novel by a prodigious talent.
Oyeyemi delivers her third passionate and unusual book, a neo-gothic tale revolving around Miranda and Eliot Silver, fraternal twins of Haitian descent raised in a British house haunted by generations of afflicted, displaced family members, including their mother. Miranda suffers from pica, an affliction that causes her to eat nonedible items, which is passed down to her via the specters from her childhood that now punctuate her nightmares. As the novel progresses, the increasingly violent nature of this bizarre, insatiable hunger reveals itself to be the ironclad grip of the dead over the living or of mother over daughter. The book is structured around multiple voices including that of the house itself that bleed into one another. Appealing from page one, the story, like the house, becomes extremely foreboding, as the house is "storing its collapse" and "can only be as good as" those who inhabit it. The house's protective, selfish voice carries a child's vision of loss: in the absence of a mother, feelings of anger, betrayal and bodily desire replace the sensation of connection. Unconventional, intoxicating and deeply disquieting.
When gothic horror is as everyday as school romance
Helen Oyeyemi strikes a curiously dry balance between the mundane life of a modern family, with the usual troubles; a teenage girl with an eating disorder, a twin brother jealous of her casual brilliance; and the insidious hints of a fairytale madness which hunts down its victims with cold purpose and no regrets.
I’ve never made a negative review for a book in my life. And I’ve read thousands. This book is terribly written and absolutely awful to follow. My family and I (all bookworms) chose it for our monthly “Book Club” and none of us could get through it.
I’m all for complex stories, I live for them, but this one is to the point that you spend the entire time trying to figure out who the heck is talking and what point of view it’s in to even spend a sliver of your mind following the “plot”.
If I could give negative stars.. I would.