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  • Published: New York : Riverhead Hardcover, 2014.
  • Year Published: 2014
  • Description: 308 p.
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9781594631399
  • 1594631395


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Boy, snow, bird

by Oyeyemi, Helen.

There are currently 2 available

Where To Find It

Call number: Fiction

Available Copies: Malletts Adult, Pittsfield Adult

Additional Details

"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"

Community Reviews


Oyeyemi's writing is superlative. This is the first novel of her's that I've read, and I was perplexed, enchanted, and hooked from the start. I checked it out, and, having forgotten what it was about, began reading without any context, didn't read the jacket flaps or blurbs; nothing. The bones of the Snow White fairy tale come up slowly, then faster and faster. Oyeyemi writes from the perspectives of two of the main characters. It's written in three parts, with a time jump in between that really changes the narrative; it sets the story on a fast track toward the family having to confront their past and what they've done to each other. I loved this.

This book will enchant you

Like the very best of fairy tales, Boy Snow Bird pulls the reader into its 1950s Massachusetts world slowly. It is not until the reader is invested in the characters that Oyeyemi starts asking the hard questions: what is race, what is family, what is 'fair treatment', how much does appearance matter and does it tell the truth? Part magical realism, part historical fiction, the sum of Boy Snow Bird is greater than either genre and weaves a web that leaves the reader thinking about it long after the last page is turned.

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