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Boy, Snow, Bird

Oyeyemi, Helen (Book - 2014 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Boy, Snow, Bird
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"From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story 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."-- "A reimagining of the Snow White story set in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s"--
Authors: Oyeyemi, Helen
Statement of Responsibility: Helen Oyeyemi
Title: Boy, snow, bird
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 22 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Summary: "From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story 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."--
"A reimagining of the Snow White story set in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s"--
Subject Headings: Fairy tales Adaptations FICTION / Literary. bisacsh FICTION / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology. bisacsh FICTION / General. bisacsh
Genre/Form: Fantasy fiction
Topical Term: Fairy tales
FICTION Literary
FICTION Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
FICTION General
LCCN: 2013025053
ISBN: 9781594631399
1594631395
Branch Call Number: FIC O
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From the critics


Library Staff

Comment by: BCD2013 May 06, 2014

Oyeyemi, named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, reimagines the Snow White fairy tale as a story involving African Americans passing as white.


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A patron review from the Adult Summer Game: "Great book! Intriguing and well-spun storyline. Definitely shows that the author has lots of creativity and imagination."

May 14, 2014
  • gvlee rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Supposedly a twist on Snow White, this tale has almost no bearing on the fairy tale. This story is about Boy, a white woman who sends away her beautiful white looking stepdaughter, when Boy's own baby is born looking black. The story is told incoherently and the few references to the Snow White fairy tale just confuse matters. The "ending" is deeply unsatisfying and there is no resolution to the story. I strongly do not recommend this book.

May 10, 2014
  • shannon40 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Great writing. Illogical plot (if you can even call it a plot). There is a story waiting to be told about the culture of light-skinned African-Americans during the 1930-1960 period. This isn't it.

Oyeyemi, named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, reimagines the Snow White fairy tale as a story involving African Americans passing as white.

Apr 19, 2014
  • kninchicago rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The title of this book is the names of the three women featured in this novel. Boy Novak runs away from her abusive father to live in Connecticut, where she marries a man with a beautiful stepdaughter named Snow. Boy becomes pregnant and when she gives birth, it’s clear from her daughter Bird’s appearance that her husband is actually a black man and passing for white. Using elements of mysticism and fairy tale, Oyeyemi explores race relations in 1950s New England with touching results.

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