‘Books and Roses’ by Helen Oyeyemi

Once upon a time in Catalonia, our heroine, Montserrat, is found as an infant in a chapel at the feet of a Black Madonna. Oyeyemi is an author whose work I love so much, I almost don’t want to share her. Her books are dizzying, enchanted sleigh-rides through fairytale and folklore that allude to and skilfully dissect the motifs they incorporate. ‘Books and Roses’, as well as the symbols of the title, involves keys, mirrors, secret gardens and the enigmatic architecture of Gaudí’s final residential building, the Casa Mila in Barcelona. 

Extracted in Granta and available to read here, and collected in the excellent What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, Picador, 2016

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