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Parasol Against the Axe
Parasol Against the Axe: A Novel | Helen Oyeyemi
4 posts | 2 read | 7 to read
NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR BY ELLE, THE SEATTLE TIMES, LITERARY HUB, THE MILLIONS AND MORE! A metatextual masterpiece. Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW Oyeyemi writes here as an heir to Calvino or BorgesA dizzying, dazzling romp. Kirkus Reviews The prize-winning, bestselling author of Peaces and Gingerbread returns with a novel about competitive friendship, the elastic boundaries of storytelling, and the meddling influence of a city called Prague In Helen Oyeyemis joyous new novel, the Czech capital is a living thingone 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. Little does she know shes 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 its being read and whos 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 Sofies 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?
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ImperfectCJ
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Mehso-so

I alternated between the print book and audiobook on this one. I really like it on a word-and-sentence level, and the imagery is vivid, which I love, but the overall meaning eludes me. This is possibly the point, but it also makes the novel a little too slippery. I still love Oyeyemi's writing, but this one doesn't quite hit for me.

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ImperfectCJ
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Audiocooking (granola, chicken, Brussels sprouts, NOT all mixed together) to the tagged book, which is leaving me feeling a little drunk and a lot like I need to visit Prague.

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Billypar
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Pickpick

Whether it's visual art, music, movies, or literature, I love seeing an artist reference their own favorite influences. In Oyeyemi's latest, she mashes up two Calvino novels - If on a winter's night and Invisible Cities (maybe more? - those are the only two I've read) with a few nods to Borges mixed in. It's perfect fuel for this meditation on the infinity of mental representations of the same city that exist in the minds of its visitors 👇

Billypar It's Prague entering a hall of mirrors but one where every image reflects something different back. But her novels are never content to rest on just one focus, so she weaves together reflections on relationships of three's, both literal romantic ones, and the implied author, subject, and reader. I haven't mentioned the plot yet, and if you're a fan of her work, you can probably guess why. It's complicated. But in the best way 🤯😸 3mo
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Megabooks
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A friend brought us a bouquet from her garden yesterday, and I thought it would look nice with these library holds I‘m very excited about!! 💜📚💐

peanutnine Lovely! 🌼 3mo
bookandbedandtea Beautiful! I cannot WAIT for flowers in my neck of the woods. Winter lasts forever here. 🌷🪻⚘️ 3mo
Chelsea.Poole Nice stack you have there! I‘m going to read James and hope to get to The Book of Love soonish 👯‍♀️ 3mo
See All 16 Comments
REPollock I couldn‘t put down James. I read it nonstop. ❤️ 3mo
Billypar Great picks! I'm reading Parasol now and I've got two older ones from Link and Everett on my shelf. 3mo
BarbaraBB Oooh! You‘ve got James already! ❤️❤️ 3mo
Cathythoughts These all look good. I must look them up 👍🏻 3mo
JenP James is great. I hope you love it too 3mo
Megabooks @JenP @REPollock it‘s up next after I finish the two I‘m reading! 3mo
Megabooks @peanutnine @bookandbedandtea I‘m really enjoying springtime! Thanks!! 😁😁 3mo
Megabooks @Chelsea.Poole you and I are so in sync!! 3mo
Megabooks @Billypar I‘ve loved almost everything I‘ve read by Everett. Link is hit or miss for me, but I‘m excited about this one. How‘s Parasol going so far? 3mo
Megabooks @BarbaraBB yes! It came out this week here! 3mo
Megabooks @Cathythoughts always happy to see you! I hope you find one you want to read! 3mo
Suet624 You lucky duck. Great books! Can‘t wait to read James. 3mo
Billypar @Megabooks I'm liking it so far, but still pretty early at just page 50. Really it feels like catching up with an old friend because her style is so distinctive. 3mo
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