Saturday, March 15, 2014

Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi's latest novel is Boy, Snow, Bird. From her Q & A with Alexander Chee for BuzzFeed:

The press for this novel says you are retelling Snow White, but that isn’t quite what this is, is it? There’s something else.

Helen Oyeyemi: Oh, retelling Snow White is what I set out to do! But I had to come at it slant because that’s how I tend to read fairy tales: In this case I was watching the role of the magic mirror and pursued the line of thought and the feelings it provoked.

What was the part of Snow White that provoked you until you wanted to begin?

HO: Retelling a story can be a way of arguing with it, or testing its architecture for false walls — I was always a bit incredulous that the mirror in the original story got away with the things it said. Also I didn’t feel the wicked Queen’s heart was really in her attempts to kill Snow White: It wouldn’t have been difficult for her to make sure she got rid of the girl on the first try. It’s the story that wants/needs her to try again and again. So I imagined someone experiencing wickedness as a bit of a hassle, and that someone is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue