What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton

From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox comes an enchanting and thought-provoking collection of intertwined stories

Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret--Oyeyemi's keys not only unlock elements of her characters' lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In "Books and Roses" one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers' fates. "'Sorry' Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea" involves a "house of locks," where doors can be closed only with a key--with surprising, unobservable developments. And in "If a Book Is Locked There's Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think," a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).
     As ever, Oyeyemi's creative vision and storytelling are effervescent, wise, and insightful, and her tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.


“Oyeyemi has created a universe that dazzles and wounds.”—New York Times

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is a truly exceptional work of fiction, by a writer we should be delirious to have as a contemporary.”The Independent

“It is, in a word, flawless.”NPR

“This book is like a pure shot of imagination.”—Bustle  

“The full effect of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is almost uncanny. So powerful is the storytelling, there were points in my reading where I experienced a uniquely immersive experience, as if I had entered wholly into Oyeyemi’s world. The most mundane things — the sound of an opening door, the sight of a key, the familiarity of passing strangers echoed what I was reading in the book and so they took on a sudden clarity and a keen significance. It took a long time for that feeling to fade, and I was sorry when it did . . . What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is a book of marvels, of wonders, marvellous and wondrously strange.”Robert Wiersema, The Star

“Blooming with imagination, each story will paint a new world for you to sink into. With keys and locks threaded throughout the book, this is a read that will open doors inside of yourself you didn't know existed.”—Bustle  

“In a masterful display of storytelling, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours uses keys as a starting point to explore the deeper questions of why we hide the things we lock away, who has the power to open the things we keep sheltered, and what happens when those things are unleashed.”Mashable

“Helen Oyeyemi is a literary genius, and it shows in this fantastic collection of short stories. Glowing with imagination, each piece feels like you're stepping into an entirely new universe. With characters that will welcome you, push you, and surprise you, Oyeyemi's writing takes you past your expectations. As locks and keys weave their way throughout these stories, you'll find yourself opening up in new ways.”—Bustle