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Parasol Against the Axe: Book summary and reviews of Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi

Parasol Against the Axe

A Novel

by Helen Oyeyemi

Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi X
Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi
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  • Published Mar 2024
    272 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

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 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. 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?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Bold, lucid, and experimental... Oyeyemi delightfully channels a Borgesian literary lunacy... This is a metatextual masterpiece." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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

"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." —BookPage

"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." —Elle

This information about Parasol Against the Axe was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Helen Oyeyemi Author Biography

Photo: © Manchul Kim

Helen Oyeyemi is the author of the story collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, which won 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.

Link to Helen Oyeyemi's Website

Name Pronunciation
Helen Oyeyemi: ooo-yee-yemi

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