HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
Loading...

White is for Witching

by Helen Oyeyemi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6473623,550 (3.35)80
Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award One of Granta 's Best Young British Novelists From the acclaimed author of Boy, Snow, Bird There's something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it's been home to four generations of Silver women--Anna, Jennifer, Lily, and now Miranda, who has lived in the house with her twin brother, Eliot, ever since their father converted it to a bed-and-breakfast. The Silver women have always had a strong connection, a pull over one another that reaches across time and space, and when Lily, Miranda's mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Miranda begins suffering strange ailments. An eating disorder starves her. She begins hearing voices. When she brings a friend home, Dover's hostility toward outsiders physically manifests within the four walls of the Silver house, and the lives of everyone inside are irrevocably changed. At once an unforgettable mystery and a meditation on race, nationality, and family legacies, White is for Witching is a boldly original, terrifying, and elegant novel by a prodigious talent.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 80 mentions

English (35)  Dutch (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
An interesting book to read. Early on it adopts a nightmarish feeling, both in the sense that adjacent things don't always have a clear relationship to one another, and in the sense that a menacing feeling seems to be hovering at the edge of your vision, and only passes in front of your eyes for brief, but striking moments.

A book that feels very appropriate to the current political discourse, despite the fact that it was written a decade before my reading. ( )
  GracefulPhoton | Dec 6, 2019 |
This was kind of hard to follow. It's beautifully written and very atmospheric but maybe leans a little too hard on the poetic language at times. I liked the bits with Miri at school and her relationship with her brother but the ghostly, haunting stuff was a little too opaque and made for difficult reading. Loved the ideas though and keep thinking it would make a lovely movie. ( )
  ZJB | Sep 4, 2019 |
This book was incredible. Creepy, haunting exploration of self, relationship, and narrative. ( )
  schufman | Jul 20, 2019 |
I read this for the Diverse Voices square for Halloween Bingo

White is for witching, a colour to be worn so that all other colours can enter you, so that you may use them.

Creepy, intriguing, mysterious, frustrating, and melancholy, White is for Witching had a very strong start that sagged a bit in the middle and then ultimately puttered out into its own enigmatic mysteries.

Miranda can’t come in today Miranda has a condition called pica she has eaten a great deal of chalk—she really can’t help herself—she has been very ill—Miranda has pica she can’t come in today, she is stretched out inside a wall she is feasting on plaster she has pica try again:

To me, the house (and any real or imagined non-human inhabitants) is the sun with Miranda being Mercury, her twin brother Eliot as Venus, and their father Earth. Secondary characters such as a friend Miranda makes at college called Ore would be a moon of Mercury and the housemaid Sade could be a comet. This is an odd way to place the characters but I don't want to spoil too much of the story but still give an idea of the story's placement of characters.

The way this story is written and structured is different, povs from mainly Miranda, Eliot, and the house (yes, the house has a pov), flow in and out with blips from Sade, Ore, and maybe a couple other minor ones I am forgetting. You need to be on your game to fully understand who is talking but even then, things can get confusing with possible unreliable narrators and not knowing what is real and mental health issues.

The horror of the story is that there is a house that is possibly haunted, maybe by a soucouyant (a witch in Caribbean folklore), maybe by a curse on the female line of a family, and maybe simply a daughter that lost her mother and is spiraling down a mental health destructive hole. This story centers on women, their strengths and weaknesses; Eliot plays a good sized role but he is still clearly on the sidelines along with his father who is ineffectual in his drowning grief for his wife.

They were naked except for corsets laced so tightly that their desiccated bodies dipped in and out like parchment scrolls bound around the middle. They stared at Miranda in numb agony. Padlocks were placed over their parted mouths, boring through the top lip and closing at the bottom. Miranda could see their tongues writhing.

The beginning had me captured with Eliot leading us into the story about how his mother died and how his sister is withering away because she seems only able to eat chalk. From Eliot's point of view it seems more like a mental health issue with occasional povs from the house and Miranda popping in to make you believe in the shiver going up your spine. The middle starts to transition to more of Miranda's point of view, her struggles with her mental health and the house, along with looks at Miranda's female ancestors.

When Miranda leaves the house for a little while is when the story started to lose me a bit. Sade and Ore get added to the story, I thought Ore was too late of an additive and even though she brought an outside look and probably worked to more definitively answer the mental health or truly haunted question, I missed the atmosphere of the house and Eliot with Miranda.

“I’m to go home. The house wants me,” she cried. The moonlight made her look blue. It made her look as if she was dead. She opened my window and sat herself on the ledge; she dangled her bare legs over it. We were four floors up.

I don't know how many have watched the tv series The Leftovers but this story gave me the same kind of feelings. Majorly intriguing start, with questions, mysteries, and interesting characters everywhere, only to maybe out write themselves and end up leaving a lot up in the air in a way that devalues the story.

As far as giving you the heebie jeebies, this will definitely do it, some scenes had me looking hard into dark corners in my house. As far as the characters sticking with me, probably not, as they didn't quite become fully fleshed out to me. I do know I would love to see this made into a limited series, Netflix get on that, the psychomanteum room scenes would be chilling good.

That was the first and last time I’ve heard my own voice. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Feb 14, 2019 |
It was hard to stay super interested in a funny book about a not funny subject, but I'm glad I read it. There were definitely parts that had me laughing out loud, so I was not disappointed - it just felt like the type of book that wasn't a binger. ( )
  echoechokg | Sep 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Helen Oyeyemi’s eerie third novel features a young woman who has a strange eating disorder and lives with her twin brother and widowed father in a haunted house across the street from a cemetery full of unmarked graves. On the surface, this setup might appear best suited to the young adult fiction market, but Oyeyemi (who was born in Nigeria and educated in England) knows that ghost stories aren’t just for kids. And “White Is for Witching” turns out to be a delightfully unconventional coming-of-age story.
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Oyeyemiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tooke, KatieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
I hold my honey and I store my bread/In little jars and cabinets of my will./I label clearly, and each latch and lid/I bid, Be firm till I return from Hell. - Gwendolyn Brooks, Selected Poems
Dedication
First words
Miranda Silver is in Dover, in the ground beneath her mother's house.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.35)
0.5
1 9
1.5 3
2 16
2.5 6
3 22
3.5 18
4 35
4.5 4
5 19

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 141,537,714 books! | Top bar: Always visible