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What is not yours is not yours by Helen Oyeyemi

Imaginative. Enchanting. Impressive story-telling. 

Helen Oyeyemi, seems to be the writer that can do no wrong. The award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox, has released another wonderful new piece of wiring that incorporates intertwining short stories that weave an that stays with you long after you have put the book aside. 

Keys play an integral part in Helen Oyeyemi's stories. Whether literally or metaphorically, they engage and command attention. 

Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation.   
There's a key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret: the keys in this extraordinary book not only unlock elements of the characters' lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. 

What Is Yours Is Not Yours starts off with a story called Books And Roses. There is a key that opens a secret garden, a library and plays a crucial connection in two lovers hearts. 

I loved learning about Barcelona's tradition of Books and Roses 
Sant Jordi´s Day Barcelona "La Diada de Sant Jordi". It is considered the most romantic day of the year, a day of roses, romance and books. 
The lovers spent Christmas together, then parted -- Lucy for Grenoble, and Safiya for Barcelona. They wrote to each other care of their cities' central post offices, and at the beginning of April Safiya wrote of the romance of St. Jordi's Day. Lucy, it is the custom here to exchange books and roses each year on April 23rd. Shall we? 

Oyeyemi's writing is far from predictable. You never know what's at the turn of a page. Her words have a way of holding you captive and like a slow osmosis, you absorb her brilliant storytelling. She's a rare writer, combining an enchantment with brutal reality and making it all simultaneously believable and surreal. 

She has a writing that defies convention, yet, it somehow works to her advantage. Revealing her characters is like a dance, where you enjoy the waltz as you slowly glean nuggets of information about them, with the slight of a turn, or the glint of an eye. It is a beautiful relationship between the reader and the writer. The waltz transforms into a tango that you never want to end.

Given paragraph after paragraph, with clever turns of phrase; page after page, with illusions to the real and the surreal; story after story, divulging from the poetical fantasy to numbing reality, one may wonder if the stories were written for the sake of storytelling, conveying a message or as a pedagogical exercise. This isn't a criticism as much as it is an observation. Oscar Wilde had written that "I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying" so it is hoped that What Is Yours Is Not Yours doesn't lose an audience for falling into that category. 

Books & Wine Pairing: Take an adventure and leap into a new territory of wine tasting, as you read and sip on this  vintage Italian white wine, with hints of honey and melon, and colour as intense as vibrant straw reflections. Pair Helen Oyeyemi's What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours with this delicious vintage indulgence. Read the review: Tenuta Roveglia Vigne di Catullo Lugana Riserva 2012 (Available at LCBO VINTAGES#: 437004 | $23.75 per 750 ml bottle). 

For more wine pairings visit
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is published by Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Limited 

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative and Social Media strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle) 

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