‘Books and Roses’ by Helen Oyeyemi

The stories in Oyeyemi’s 2016 collection are all loosely linked by keys and locks and secrets. This story opens the collection with a baby found in a monastery with a key fastened around her neck. As she grows older, and becomes a heroine figure, she’s suddenly replaced by another. Another heroine, another key. It’s a great example of how short stories, in particular, don’t always go where you expect.

First published in Granta 129: Fate, November 2014, and available to subscribers to read online here. Collected in What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, Picador, 2016

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