What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours- A Book Review

If you have ever watched an episode of Black mirror- except San Junípero whose normalcy after the rest is only strange- you will understand what I mean when I say that every story in this book feels just like that.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is a collection of short stories that dives into the unseen. It is a book that attempts to put words into feelings that might not even be of this earth. Each story leaves you unsettled, with more questions than answers, yet grappling for the next one.

Helen Oyeyemi is deliberate with every word in every line. Each story feels like tugging at a loose thread and every revelation at each turn pushes you back like the recoil of a trigger. But it’s not over so you keep going. More often than not, at the end of a story, your perspective is wider than it has ever been. This book forces you to dig into the crevices of your mind to find answers to questions you would never have thought of. She leads you down a hallway of half-opened doors with frozen hinges.

This book delves into the spiritual. There are characters which up till the end of the story, you do not know whether they truly exist. From science experiments that conjure up a future that will never be to stories that leave you with pasts that can only stay. Helen Oyeyemi’s What Is Not Yours Us Not Yours is full of intrigue, a master tale of trickery and misdirection.

In this fantasical masterpiece, the titles are a vacuum and they suck you in. Taste may be subjective but what is curious is curious. Time flows and space is but an illusion here.

My favorite title is “Is Your Blood As Red As This?”. While it may not be my favorite story, the title tells you a story of its own. It comes up in different tones and notes if you will just listen.

Much like the last story in the collection, “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That, Don’t You Think”, Oyeyemi teaches about gaps and the ones we must fill with our own imagination.

When you read this book, do not try to be in control for it will stretch your mind to unimaginable lengths. The clock may not tick and the main character may be pushed to the side in the blink of an eye. When you read these stories, do not just think outside the box, walk a little farther if you can. And if you think you can’t, give yourself to the book. Watch it drag you to the edge and leave you to titter dangerously. Just when you think you are about to fall, watch it pull you back.

There is no season for What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. Whenever your hands touch it, just open it.

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