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The Opposite House de Helen Oyeyemi
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The Opposite House (edició 2007)

de Helen Oyeyemi (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2155104,646 (3.38)19
Maja Carmen Carrera, the daughter of a black Cuban couple, was only five years old when the family emigrated from the Caribbean to London, leaving her with one complete memory: a woman singing eerily at the farewell party while little Maja and an older girl peered out from beneath a table. Now, almost twenty years later, Maja herself is a singer with a small band, in love with her boyfriend, pregnant and haunted by what she calls 'her Cuba.' Growing up in London, she struggles to negotiate her history and the sense that speaking the Spanish or the English of her people's conquistadors makes her less of a black girl. But she is unable to find in herself the Ewe, Igbo, or Swahili of her roots. It seems all that's left is silence. Distance from Cuba deepens Maja's mother's faith in Santeria - the fusion of Catholicism and West African religion - and its Yoruba gods, but it also divides the family as her father rails against his wife's superstitions and the lost dreams of the Castro revolution. On the other side of the reality wall, Yemaya Saramagua lives in the Somewherehouse with two doors: one opening to London, the other to Lagos. Yemaya is troubled by the ease with which her fellow gods have disguised themselves as saints and reappeared under different names and faces.… (més)
Membre:Jyothsnamh
Títol:The Opposite House
Autors:Helen Oyeyemi (Autor)
Informació:Bloomsbury (2007), Edition: First Edition, 272 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

The Opposite House de Helen Oyeyemi

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» Mira també 19 mencions

Es mostren totes 5
Found this book very difficult to follow, a few nice passages but most of the time I was too confused about everything
to enjoy it. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
I was left with mostly confusion about this one. I think that Oyeyemi is a good writer, but since the timelines kept jumping around with Maja's remembrances I could never be sure of things. Towards the end of the book things got more simplified with Maja focusing on her pregnancy, her relationship with Aaron, and her poisoned one with her friend Amy Eleni. The book just abruptly ends leaving you with a severe case of what just happened. At least it left me with that.

I loved hearing about the African Cuban experience in Cuba as well as in London after Maja's family immigrates to Britain. However, Oyeyemi breaks up Maja's narrative by also including her mother's involvement with Santeria and also an Orisha named Yemaya Saramagua (an Orisha is a minor God in Santeria and Nigeria). house” between Cuba and Lagos. Orishas are the human form of the spirits (called Irunmoles) sent by Olorun. The Irunmọlẹ are meant to guide creation and particularly humanity on how to live and succeed on Earth Ayé. I spent most of the book confused anytime we left Maja for glimpses/looks at Yemaya Saramangua. I also spent a lot of time with Google and Wikipedia looking things up.

I realized after doing some research that Yemaya I think is also known as Yemoja who is an Orisha and the mother of all Orishas, having given birth to the 14 Yoruba gods and goddesses. She is often syncretized with either Our Lady of Regla in the Afro-Cuban or seen as various other Virgin Mary figures of the Catholic Church. Yemoja is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent her wealth. So I can see why this is the Orisha that ping pongs between chapters of us readers following Maja through her first pregnancy.

I didn't really care for Maja though. She was a confusing character and I don't really know what she wanted. Throughout the book she talks of her son and having ownership of him more than the father of the baby. However, at times she doesn't seem to be interested in things related to her pregnancy (eating well or visiting the doctor). She seems fixated on returning to Cuba and I just don't know what she was looking to find there. I am not an immigrant, so I am sure that I am missing something from this book that others would be able to get a fix on. To me it just seemed her character was confused from beginning to end. And I honestly couldn't get a fix on other characters.

Maja's brother Tomas who is known throughout as the London baby (since he was not born in Cuba like Maja was) reads as half a person in this book. Tomas is not seen as Cuban since he is African and he is not seen as African since he is also Cuban. Tomas is not home sick for Cuba like Maja proclaims to be, but just wants to be somewhere that he belongs.

Maja's relationship with Aaron was also confusing. We know that Aaron is white, but was born and raised in Ghana. So he feels as if he can explain what it is to be black to Maja's father at times or take exception for not really getting what it is to be black/Ghanian. Just by the color of his skin, Aaron is privileged and doesn't really get it. We see this again and again throughout the book. Especially when he mentors three of Amy Eleni's students. I don't get her attraction to him since she doesn't seem to like him much.

Maja's messed up friendship with Amy Eleni was confusing to me too. Amy Eleni was not a good friend. She talks about Maja's pregnancy like it's not happening or seems to hope she miscarries at times. Amy Eleni has been friends with Maja since they were young, but her mother (Maja's) hasn't trusted her since she is white. And Amy Eleni also seems to have feelings for Maja that she is ignoring.

The writing was lyrical and beautiful. I just wish I could get a good sense of rhythm will reading. I think the chapters alternating from Maja and back again after a look at Yemaya Saramagua didn't really work for me at all. I started to skim most of Yemaya's chapters after a while since I kept having to look up words or people named.

The ending of the book was abrupt with us not knowing what Maja is going to do next. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I enjoyed this book but when I finished it I felt like I had missed something very important and didn't get parts of it. Still have a positive opinion of it, though, and enjoyed reading it. ( )
  GraceZ | Sep 6, 2014 |
A wonderful novel about an Afro-Cuban family and friends accompanied by magical characters and the deities of Santania.

I loved this novel, but hardly know how to write about it. It is full of experimental writing and magical realism that works for me even though I can’t explain why in linear language.

First there is the varied cast of human characters. The story centers on Maja, a young pregnant Afro-Cuban woman. Her parents are intellectuals and her mother a devotee of Santania. They brought her to London when she was a child and her brother was born there. Her lover is a Jewish Ghanaian studying medicine and her best friend from childhood is a lesbian Cypriot. Their interactions involve family loyalty and tension, migration and identity. Interwoven but never intersecting are the stories of the magical inhabitants of the “somewherehouse” with doors opening into both London and Lagos. And then there are the Santeria deities.

Oyeyemi writes beautifully. I could quote sentence after sentence of her gem-filled prose. Given the fascinating characters and the perceptive descriptions, it hardly matters that the plot is minimal.
2 vota mdbrady | Aug 25, 2012 |
Oyeyemi writes like she's transcribing a dream. Is anything happening? Are the characters learning anything or doing anything? Who cares? Her fantastic prose style will drag you in and keep you interested. ( )
2 vota Heather_S | Sep 25, 2007 |
Es mostren totes 5
Sense ressenyes | afegeix-hi una ressenya
Has d'iniciar sessió per poder modificar les dades del coneixement compartit.
Si et cal més ajuda, mira la pàgina d'ajuda del coneixement compartit.
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Epígraf
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There's been a Death, in the Opposite House,
As lately as Today--
I know it, by the numb look
Such Houses have--alway--

Emily Dickinson
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Dedicatòria
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For Jason Tsang
(if there is ... go and get it)
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Sometimes a child with wise eyes is born.
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(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
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Cap

Maja Carmen Carrera, the daughter of a black Cuban couple, was only five years old when the family emigrated from the Caribbean to London, leaving her with one complete memory: a woman singing eerily at the farewell party while little Maja and an older girl peered out from beneath a table. Now, almost twenty years later, Maja herself is a singer with a small band, in love with her boyfriend, pregnant and haunted by what she calls 'her Cuba.' Growing up in London, she struggles to negotiate her history and the sense that speaking the Spanish or the English of her people's conquistadors makes her less of a black girl. But she is unable to find in herself the Ewe, Igbo, or Swahili of her roots. It seems all that's left is silence. Distance from Cuba deepens Maja's mother's faith in Santeria - the fusion of Catholicism and West African religion - and its Yoruba gods, but it also divides the family as her father rails against his wife's superstitions and the lost dreams of the Castro revolution. On the other side of the reality wall, Yemaya Saramagua lives in the Somewherehouse with two doors: one opening to London, the other to Lagos. Yemaya is troubled by the ease with which her fellow gods have disguised themselves as saints and reappeared under different names and faces.

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