White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (Review)

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (3.5 Stars) 

Helen Oyeyemi has me stumped for words. After reading Boy, Snow, Bird, I knew I had to pick up more of her works, and truly, each novel is like a little gem. My rating might not reflect that but I’ll explain why. White is for Witching is different from anything I’ve ever read (and will ever read). Let’s start with the weird narrators, shall we?

                                                           “Miri I conjure you”

In the beginning, our young protagonist Miranda Silver has gone missing. In the first few pages, we are introduced to the three narrators: her twin brother Eliot, her friend (and lover) Ore and her house (yeah, I know). After the twins’ mother Lily passes away, Miranda’s mental health goes berserk and pica (passed down to her, matrilineally) controls her life. Pica is an obsession with eating non nutritious food and in Miranda’s case: chalk and plastic.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t like reading this book for the first 100 pages. It became a lot more interesting after that. To backtrack a little, the story is set in Dover where the Silver family own a Bread & breakfast. Grief and pain are visible and tangible elements present at the centre of it all. Miranda stops eating, there’s some weird stuff with her brother (not explained) and her father feels very much like an outsider. The house acts as a ‘protector’ to Miranda, it wants to shield her from things that can hurt her later on like love and attachment.

White is for Witching can certainly be interpreted in various ways, realistically or in a more paranormal sense. All the subtle fairy tale elements put a smile on my face. And racial issues are addressed too, but not in a huge way like in Boy, Snow, Bird. If you’re looking for a plot based narrative, steer away from this – the reason why I couldn’t rate this a 4 or 5 stars. Oyeyemi’s world building is interesting: she combines observations, psychology and magical realism in a compellingly sinister and dream-like tale.

Advertisements Share this:
Like this:Like Loading... Related