Gingerbread: A Novel

Front Cover
Penguin Canada, Mar 5, 2019 - Fiction - 320 pages
"Exhilarating...A wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel." -The New York Times Book Review

"[W]ildly inventive...[Helen Oyeyemi's] prose is not without its playful bite." -Vogue

The prize-winning, bestselling author of Boy, Snow, Bird and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours returns with a bewitching and imaginative novel.


Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children's stories, the beloved bestselling author of Boy, Snow, Bird and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours invites readers into a delightfully inventive and bewitching novel about a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

Perdita Lee may appear your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there's the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it's very popular in Druhástrana, the far away (or, according to many sources, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee's early youth. The world's truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet's charismatic childhood friend Gretela--a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.

Decades later, when teenage Perdita's search for her mother's long-lost friend prompts a new telling of Harriet's story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi's inimitable style and imagination, Gingerbread is a true feast for the reader.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - erikasolberg770 - LibraryThing

As always, a little confusing and very captivating. The love triangle was not that compelling for me, but the mother-daughter relationship was, and the invented world was fascinating. I love how she twists things into new shapes. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - booklove2 - LibraryThing

I'm accustomed to intensely layered and detailed dreams. This book is like that. I wasn't sure how all of these inventive details fit together. I wasn't sure where the plot was going. From page one to ... Read full review

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About the author (2019)

HELEN OYEYEMI is the author of the story collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, winner of the PEN Open Book Award, along with six novels, including Gingerbread and Boy, Snow, Bird, which was a finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Bibliographic information