25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | August 6, 2014

Graham Joyce: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Graham Joyce



The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit is set on the English coast in the hot summer of 1976, so the music in this playlist is pretty much all from the... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

The Opposite House

by

The Opposite House Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In a dazzling follow-up to The Icarus Girl, Helen Oyeyemi explores the thin wall between myth and reality through the alternating tales of two young women and their search for the truth about faith and identity.

Maja Carmen Carrerra, the daughter of a black Cuban couple, was only five years old when the family emigrated to London. Growing up, she speaks the Spanish of her native land and the English of her adopted country, but longs for a connection to her African roots. Now in her early twenties, Maja is haunted by thoughts of Cuba and the desire to make sense of the threads of her history. Maja's mother has found comfort in Santeria — a faith that melds Catholic saints and the Yoruba gods of West African religion. Her involvement with Santeria, however, divides the family as Maja's father rails against his wife's superstitions and the lost dreams of the Castro revolution.

Maja's narrative is one of two parallel voices in Oyeyemi's beautifully wrought novel. Yemaya Saramagua speaks from the other side of the reality wall — in the Somewherehouse, which has two doors, one opening to London, the other to Lagos. A Yoruban goddess, Yemaya is troubled by the ease with which her fellow gods have disguised themselves as saints and reappeared under different names and faces.

As Maja and Yemaya move closer to understanding themselves, they realize that the journey to discovering where home truly lies is at once painful and exhilarating.

Review:

"Oyeyemi (Icarus Girl) returns to the realms of myth and magic in her second novel, the rewarding and challenging narrative of Maja, a 24-year-old black Cuban woman whose family fled Castro's revolution for London when she was seven. Maja has recently moved in with her boyfriend, Aaron, and discovers she is pregnant with the child she's wanted since she was five years old. And though adjusted to life in London, she begins to wonder about the country her family left behind. Coloring her search for a sense of belonging are the gods and goddesses of Santeria, a fusion of Catholicism and West African Yoruba beliefs. Flashbacks flesh out Maja's relationships with her Santeria-practicing Mami, her professor Papi (who is not a Santeria practitioner) and her bully-bait younger brother, Toms. Maja's gay best friend, Amy Eleni, provides Maja with sharp insight that helps her come into her own. Interwoven is the story of Aya, a goddess of Santeria who lives in the 'somewherehouse,' which has one door that opens onto Lagos and one onto London. Though the prose can tend toward the imprecise ('she felt a pull and a fuzzy, bite-sized happiness'), the novel's lyrical and stylistic experimentation speaks to Oyeyemi's depth of talent. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Recent postcolonial novels explore the cultural bouillabaisse: characters of various national origins, creeds and colors, living in an international capital and queasily negotiating issues of cultural transition. They have their heritages, African, Indian, Arabian, Jewish; they may speak Farsi or Spanish at home — or, if they're very young, they may speak only snippets of their parents' native tongue... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"I read The Opposite House with rare happiness. The voice in it is so sure, the risk it takes is so good and the intelligence in it is a sheer relief." Ali Smith, author of The Accidental

Review:

"[T]he book itself reads with a dreamy flow." Library Journal

Synopsis:

In a dazzling follow-up to "The Icarus Girl," Oyeyemi explores the thin wall between myth and reality through the alternating tales of two young women and their search for the truth about faith and identity.

Synopsis:

In a dazzling follow-up to The Icarus Girl, Helen Oyeyemi explores the thin wall between myth and reality through the alternating tales of two young women and their search for the truth about faith and identity.

Maja was five years old when her black Cuban family emigrated from the Caribbean to London. Now, almost twenty years later, Maja is a singer, in love with Aaron, pregnant, and haunted by what she calls “her Cuba.” Growing up in London, she has struggled to negotiate her history and the sense that speaking Spanish or English made her less of a black girl. But she is unable to find herself in the Ewe, Igbo, or Akum of her roots. It seems all thats left is silence.

Meanwhile distance from Cuba has only deepened Majas mother faith in Santeria the fusion of Catholicism and Western African Yoruba religionbut it also divides the family as her father rails against his wifes superstitions and the lost dreams of the Castro revolution.

On the other side of the reality wall, Yemaya Saramagua, a Santeria emissary, lives in a somewherehouse with two doors: one opening to London, the other to Lagos. Yemaya is troubled by the ease with which her fellow emissaries have disguised themselves behind the personas of saints and by her inability to recognize them.

Lyrical and intensely moving, The Opposite House is about the disquiet that follows us across places and languages, a feeling passed down from mother and father to son and daughter.

About the Author

Helen Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria in 1984 and has lived in London since the age of four. She wrote her widely acclaimed first novel, The Icarus Girl, before her nineteenth birthday and graduated from Cambridge University in 2006.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385513845
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Author:
Oyeyemi, Helen
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Young women
Subject:
Self-perception
Publication Date:
20070619
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.38x6.06x.81 in. .94 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Opposite House
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Random House - English 9780385513845 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Oyeyemi (Icarus Girl) returns to the realms of myth and magic in her second novel, the rewarding and challenging narrative of Maja, a 24-year-old black Cuban woman whose family fled Castro's revolution for London when she was seven. Maja has recently moved in with her boyfriend, Aaron, and discovers she is pregnant with the child she's wanted since she was five years old. And though adjusted to life in London, she begins to wonder about the country her family left behind. Coloring her search for a sense of belonging are the gods and goddesses of Santeria, a fusion of Catholicism and West African Yoruba beliefs. Flashbacks flesh out Maja's relationships with her Santeria-practicing Mami, her professor Papi (who is not a Santeria practitioner) and her bully-bait younger brother, Toms. Maja's gay best friend, Amy Eleni, provides Maja with sharp insight that helps her come into her own. Interwoven is the story of Aya, a goddess of Santeria who lives in the 'somewherehouse,' which has one door that opens onto Lagos and one onto London. Though the prose can tend toward the imprecise ('she felt a pull and a fuzzy, bite-sized happiness'), the novel's lyrical and stylistic experimentation speaks to Oyeyemi's depth of talent. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "I read The Opposite House with rare happiness. The voice in it is so sure, the risk it takes is so good and the intelligence in it is a sheer relief."
"Review" by , "[T]he book itself reads with a dreamy flow."
"Synopsis" by , In a dazzling follow-up to "The Icarus Girl," Oyeyemi explores the thin wall between myth and reality through the alternating tales of two young women and their search for the truth about faith and identity.
"Synopsis" by , In a dazzling follow-up to The Icarus Girl, Helen Oyeyemi explores the thin wall between myth and reality through the alternating tales of two young women and their search for the truth about faith and identity.

Maja was five years old when her black Cuban family emigrated from the Caribbean to London. Now, almost twenty years later, Maja is a singer, in love with Aaron, pregnant, and haunted by what she calls “her Cuba.” Growing up in London, she has struggled to negotiate her history and the sense that speaking Spanish or English made her less of a black girl. But she is unable to find herself in the Ewe, Igbo, or Akum of her roots. It seems all thats left is silence.

Meanwhile distance from Cuba has only deepened Majas mother faith in Santeria the fusion of Catholicism and Western African Yoruba religionbut it also divides the family as her father rails against his wifes superstitions and the lost dreams of the Castro revolution.

On the other side of the reality wall, Yemaya Saramagua, a Santeria emissary, lives in a somewherehouse with two doors: one opening to London, the other to Lagos. Yemaya is troubled by the ease with which her fellow emissaries have disguised themselves behind the personas of saints and by her inability to recognize them.

Lyrical and intensely moving, The Opposite House is about the disquiet that follows us across places and languages, a feeling passed down from mother and father to son and daughter.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.