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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox comes an enchanting collection of intertwined stories. Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical.

The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret - Oyeyemi's keys not only unlock elements of her characters' lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side.

In "Books and Roses", one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers' fates. In "Is Your Blood as Red as This?", an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. "'Sorry' Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea" involves a "house of locks", where doors can be closed only with a key - with surprising unobservable developments. And in "If a Book Is Locked There's Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think", a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).

Oyeyemi's creative vision and storytelling are effervescent, wise, and insightful, and her tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.

©2016 Helen Oyeyemi (P)2016 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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    39
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    14
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    10
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    7

Performance

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    48
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    24
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    9
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    4
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    4

Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Couldn't get through it

I didn't connect with the short story characters and I could get beyond halfway through.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Probably a better read...

Any additional comments?

I suspect because of the striking imagery, the distinct plots and the technique of using the key to create an overall arch, it is a book that is easier to read than it is to listen to. I often found myself wishing I could look back at some of the language and revisit some of the stories, as the imagery would make my mind drift and I would lose entire sections of the story that had continued. This was not the fault of the performers, but of my own mind and listening skills.

Because of that, I am not sure I was ever completely drawn into this book as I have been by others that I have listened to. Unlike some that I am rushing to finish, this book has taken me weeks to complete. Because of the nature of the disconnected stories, I often contemplated not finishing it at all... not because I didn't enjoy it, but because I felt no urgency to finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not a Book for Listening

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Our Book Club picked this book and overall had mixed reviews, but the two of us who tried to listen to it were completely lost. The book includes fantastical action and shape-shifting characters, all of which gets completely lost in listening. When I finally saw the book and realized there were different styles of print for different voices and interesting visual breaks within the story to indicate a change in time or scene, I realized it would be a very different experience to see these words on the page. Listening was a nightmare. Each story had a different narrator, but the characters within the stories were not well differentiated by the voices. The pauses between stories were almost not there and several times one story ended and another one started without me even realizing it. If you are interested in this book, buy a physical copy so you can see it and hopefully make some sense of it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another great read from Helen!

If you are looking for unconventional short stories and fairytale this is it. I struggled to clearly hear based on the accents, but I probably need to get used to them.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

clever

perplexing, creative, unique, original not like anything else I have ever read. worth your time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Top marks

Listened to it all in a week, mostly. The stories are character driven, surreal, and lovely. Some of them seem to end abryptly, but after thinking on them some more, that fit really well too.

There's nothing in the book that's scary or violent, which is a nice change of pace for me, and the time taken with detours, to hear characters thoughts and worldviews, worked remarkably well. The narration was spot on, with different stories using different narrators.