Author Helen Oyeyemi to Speak March 5

Monday, February 24, 2014 - 09:15

On March 5 at 7:30 pm in Clapp Hall’s Hooker Auditorium, award-winning novelist Helen Oyeyemi will talk about her newest work, Boy, Snow, Bird. The novel was named one of the year’s most anticipated books by media outlets as diverse as the Chicago Tribune, Vulture, Real Simple, CNN, and the Huffington Post.

Oyeyemi, best known as the author of Mr. Fox, was named one of Granta’s best young British novelists in 2013.

Boy, Snow, Bird recasts the classic “Snow White” fairy tale as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives in a small Massachusetts town, looking 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. Boy never imagined she’d become a wicked stepmother, but elements of the familiar tale are echoed when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Boy, Snow, and Bird must confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Kirkus Reviews calls the book a “masterpiece [that] engages the reader’s heart and mind as it captures both the complexities of racial and gender identity in the twentieth century and the more intimate complexities of love in all its guises.”

The event is cosponsored by the MHC Department of English and the Odyssey Bookshop.