‘books and roses’ by Helen Oyeyemi

The most liberated of all contemporary story writers, Helen Oyeyemi does exactly as she pleases, breaking rules and hearts along the way. This twisted story of keys and locks and love and flowers is a pulsating, yearning and utterly captivating narrative that swerves and feints until it arrives at a beautiful, superbly wrought ending.

First published on Granta.com, November 2014, and available to subscribers. Collected in What is not yours is not yours, Picador, 2016

‘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