What Is Not Your Is Not Yours, by Helen Oyeyemi
When it comes to reading, most people tend to make excuses for why they don’t read books. “I don’t have time” is usually the most common reason, while “I don’t have the attention span” tends to come up as well. Fear not! Helen Oyeyemi’s newest novel, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours will disprove all of your previous reading notions.
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is a compilation of short stories, each with its own individual “key” plotline. Some stories focus on actual physical keys, which open secret doors; others focus on metaphorical keys, centering around important information that unlocks a person’s heart, mind or soul. Each story is roughly 30 to 40 pages long, inviting you to sit down and read for a few minutes or a few hours, depending on your mood.
The stories are set in different times and settings, while somehow staying totally intertwined. There are many different stories being told, yet each one is connected in an underlying, almost secretive way, teasing the reader to figure out just how they all fit together. Oyeyemi is a master of capturing reader’s interest in a few pages and leaving you wanting more of the story by the end, something that can be difficult to achieve in even a full-length novel.
Each story’s plot is different, ranging from love to judgement to discovery and back again. Oyeyemi writes with a broad audience in mind, making her stories relatable to anyone at about any age. But be warned: once you pick up this book, no matter what your time constraints are, you’re unlikely to put it down again.
Oyeyemi is a British novelist and has published several other works, including Boy, Snow, Bird, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2014. She was also included in the Granta Best of Young British Novelists List in 2013.