Riverhead. Apr. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780593192337. $27. SF
Oyeyemi’s (Gingerbread) newest title features the author’s signature literary fiction with a fantastical twist, similar to Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. Otto and Xavier Shin, along with their pet mongoose, are given a remarkably honeymoon-like vacation by their aunt, aboard an unusual train. They soon discover that this former tea-smuggling locomotive is unlike other trains they have encountered in England. For one, it is the home of a secretive woman and her companions, whose pasts are about to ensnare them all in a fantastical story that will forever change who they are—to themselves and to others. In this work, setting is not as important as the characters and their motivations, which are sprinkled throughout as clues for the reader to discover.
VERDICT Fans of Oyeyemi will enjoy another romp, though her work’s not for everyone—her quirky takes on existential questions and the world of perception are suited to particular tastes.
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