Francesca Wade

Modern Magic

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours


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. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter