Gingerbread: A Novel

Gingerbread: A Novel

Author:
Series: Quintessentially British Audiobooks
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Year: 2019
ASIN: B07MQG5PXN

Award-winning British novelist Helen Oyeyemi writes bewitching speculative fiction. Her most recent work is reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel, in which gingerbread plays a significant role. Perdita Lee and her mother Harriet appear to be your average British school girl and hard-working single mom. But all is not as it seems. In addition to their unique living situation, they make a very special gingerbread. Their fellow Londoners are less-than-enthused with the recipe, but it's a specialty from the country of Harriet's youth, an off-the-map land called Druhástrana. Harriet's long-lost childhood friend loved the gingerbread, and Perdita is intent on finding her. This imaginative novel follows Perdita's journey, and the audiobook narration is lovely.

About the Book

“Exhilarating… A wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“[W]ildly inventive…. [Helen Oyeyemi’s] prose is not without its playful bite.” (Vogue)

The prize-winning, best-selling author of Boy, Snow, Bird and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours returns with a bewitching and imaginative novel.

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories, beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites listeners into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the faraway (or, according to many sources, nonexistent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. The world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend Gretel Kercheval – a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.

Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi’s inimitable style and imagination, it is a true feast for the listener.

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