January 15, 2020 7:30 pm
Led by Greenlight bookseller Nora, our fiction book group in Prospect Lefferts Gardens discusses paperback fiction, reading broadly in contemporary fiction with the occasional diversion into classics. For January, the group discusses prize winning author Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird, a brilliant recasting of the Snow White fairy tale as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries Arturo Whitman, a local widower, and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African-Americans passing for white. Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.