Francesca Wade

Modern Magic

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

By

Picador 263pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

In the final story of Helen Oyeyemi’s dazzling collection, an acerbic depiction of office workers bullying a colleague – salad dressing spilled on her desk, corrupt file attachments crashing her computer – takes a turn for the uncanny when Eva, the enigmatic victim, loses her diary. The story’s narrator, another colleague who has taken pity on her, recovers the leather-bound tome and undoes its brass clasp. As she scans the pages, the book begins to unfold ‘like a hand’, enveloping the narrator in a dizzying whirl of voices from Eva’s head. This collection abounds with such disorientating surprises: locked rooms reveal hidden treasures; animals, ghosts and dolls display unprecedented empathy; and supernatural presences lurk everywhere, sometimes benevolent, sometimes menacing. 

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