Thursday, 15 November 2012

White is for Witching - Helen Oyeyemi

I have decided that, for my November resolution (it's a thing), I will HENCEFORTH post at least once a week here at the Enthusiast. There. It's written on the internet, and so must be true.

H'OKAY. This was the only book of my R.I.P. choices that I had to stop reading by 8 pm, lest that dark corner of my bedroom spawn ghosties. This is a proper haunted house story, where the House itself is as disturbing as the women in its walls. 

Set in a sprawling manor-turned-B&B on the cliffs of Dover, White is for Witching is told through the voices of Miranda; her twin brother, Eliot; her girlfriend, Ore; and the House. The story revolves around Miranda and her disappearance, and so her section is told in third person, while the others are in first. The number of perspective switches and weird, unsettling details make this a book that I will absolutely be rereading, if only to try to understand all of what really happened.  

I love the way Oyeyemi used a kind of slow accumulation of creepy to get to the terrifying and disorienting climax. She combines a pile of acceptably unusual things twin relationship dynamics; Miranda's pica (pronounced pie-kah), an eating disorder that causes the urge to eat things with no nutritional value, like chalk  with supernatural unusual things best discovered on your own to create this sense of unease and confusion. Reading it felt like slowing going crazy and then having one spectacular break. 

Nah, it's cool. Just some guy with some dolls.

OK, I think I might be in trouble.

I really liked this book, and the further away I get from reading it, the more I like it. In with the crazy narrative and the Distinct Style are some really great bits of writing. The internet says Oyeyemi's writing is dark and lyrical, and dark and lyrical it is. 

Also, to my Cult of Wilkie internet buds, there are lesbians AND a Wilkie Collins reference. 


  1. This sounds fantastic. And both Wilkie AND lesbians? Icing on the cake.

    Also good luck with your November resolution (totally a thing) because I want to see more stuff from you!

    1. Here's hoping! I'm easily distracted. Your encouragement helps though. You rock.

  2. I love that those are the Cult of Wilkie characteristics.

    The cover of this is seriously awesome. If I read scary books, then TOTES.

    1. What can I say, it's a great cult.

      Yeah, this is a no-go if you don't like scary, because I was certainly sceeerd.

  3. I am so totally reading this. It sounds like my cup of tea.

    And this resolution is a fabulous idea. I approve and also want to join you in weekly updates...because I've been REMISS in every sense of the word.

    1. Dude, it's really good. Writing this made me want to read it again.

      We can do it, Meg. We can post once a week. (It's totally harder than it should be, right?)


Talk to me, internets.