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parsed(2024-03-05) - pubdate: 03/24
pub date: 1709618400
today: 1717045200, pubdate > today = false

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Parasol Against the Axe

A Novel

March 5, 2024 | Hardcover
ISBN: 9780735241398
Reader Reward Price: $33.30 info
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"A shape-shifting novel about the power of stories . . . Helen Oyeyemi is a literary pied piper--her voice is the kind that readers gamely follow into the most bewildering and unnerving of situations." --The New York Times Book Review

A tale of competitive friendship, elastic storytelling, and the meddling influence of a city called Prague.

In Helen Oyeyemi's joyous new novel, the Czech capital is a living thing--one that can let you in or spit you out.

For reasons of her own, Hero Tojosoa accepts an invitation she was half expected to decline, and finds herself in Prague on a bachelorette weekend hosted by her estranged friend, Sofie Cibulkova. Little does she know she's arrived in a city with a penchant for playing tricks on the unsuspecting. A book Hero has brought with her seems to be warping her mind: the text changes depending on when it's being read and who's doing the reading, revealing startling new sto­ries of fictional Praguers past and present. Un­invited companions appear at bachelorette activities and at city landmarks, offering opin­ions, humor, and even a taste of treachery. When a third woman from Hero and Sofie's past ap­pears unexpectedly, the tensions between the friends' different accounts of the past reach a new level.

An adventurous, kaleidoscopic novel, Parasol Against the Axe considers the lines between il­lusion and delusion, fact and interpretation, and weighs the risks of attaching too firmly to the stories of a place, or a person, or a shared his­tory. How much is a tale influenced by its reader, or vice versa? And finally, in a battle between friends, is it better to be the parasol or the axe?

About this Author

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 seven novels, including Peaces, Gingerbread, and Boy, Snow, Bird, which was a finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

ISBN: 9780735241398
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Published: 2024-03-05


Praise for Parasol Against the Axe:

"Delightfully weird."

"An intimate, opulent portrait of Prague."
--The Washington Post

"A shape-shifting novel about the power of stories . . . Helen Oyeyemi is a literary pied piper--her voice is the kind that readers gamely follow into the most bewildering and unnerving of situations. . . . [H]er stock-in-trade has always been tales at their least domesticated; her concern lies in form and the unruly patterns and peculiarities that allow stories to take on lives of their own."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Oyeyemi writes here as an heir to Calvino or Borges. . . . A dizzying, dazzling romp."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A terrific mercurial work. Oyeyemi has mastered the art of bold, expansive storytelling." 
--Irenosen Okojie

"Bold, lucid, and experimental. . . Oyeyemi delightfully channels a Borgesian literary lunacy . . . This is a metatextual masterpiece."
--Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"Like so much of Helen Oyeyemi's acclaimed work, Parasol Against the Axe defies a simple logline--which, of course, is to its credit as an immersive, variegated study of a city and the people within . . . you'll want to do all you can not to tear your eyes from the page."

"Oyeyemi's language, along with her ability to drop clues and invite questions without clear answers, makes the reading experience a world unto its own. . . . The pleasure of Parasol Against the Axe lies in figuring out what is real and what is imag­ined--and if, in Oyeyemi's world, the differ­ence even matters." 

"Oyeyemi's novel takes on a life of its own, gleefully jettisoning convention, and playing fast and loose with both its characters', and its readers', expectations. . . . [A] brilliant, baffling, beguiling novel."
--The Guardian

"The book's absurd charm is constant. . . . Parasol Against the Axe is a book full of contortions that pokes holes in our preconceptions of narrative."
--The New Statesman

"[An] exhilarating novel. . . . Oyeyemi confidently captures the feeling of reading, of suspecting . . . that books have a mind of their own and the power to play tricks."
--Financial Times

Praise for Helen Oyeyemi:

"A writer of sentences so elegant that they gleam."
--Ali Smith

"A writer we should be delirious to have as a contemporary."

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