Helen Oyeyemi with Danya Kukafka
One of the most compelling fiction writers at work today, a writer whose work is challenging, rewarding, and smartly imagined in all the best ways, Helen Oyeyemi makes this welcome Elliott Bay return for her newest novel, Gingerbread (Riverhead).
“In Oyeyemi’s idiosyncratically brilliant latest (following Boy, Snow, Bird), she spins a tale about three generations of women and the gingerbread recipe that is their curse and their legacy. In an effort to understand her heritage, precocious British schoolgirl Perdita Lee recreates her family’s famed gingerbread recipe—but with additional ingredients that have near-fatal consequences. When she slips into a coma, her mother, Harriet, is forced to tell her the truth of their family … Harriet’s account is an astonishing tale of rigged lotteries, girls in wells, and the mystifying and meddling Gretel Kercheval, a childhood friend of Harriet’s who seems to have an awful lot to do with Harriet’s fate ... Oyeyemi excels at making the truly astounding believable and turning even the most familiar tales into something strange and new. This fantastic and fantastical romp is a wonderful addition to her formidable canon.” - Publishers Weekly.
A small correction to that review: Helen Oyeyemi’s previous, most recent book, was the dazzling book of stories, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. Onstage with her this evening will be Seattle-based novelist Danya Kukafka, author of Girl in Snow.