Tag Archives: pica

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi is transfixing, disturbing and unnerving. Oyeyemi’s talents are very impressive.

The novel focuses on Miranda Silver, who has run away, barefoot, into the night. Narrating the events leading up to her disappearance (or escape?) are her twin brother Eliot, friend Ore and the spirit of her malevolent mansion. We learn all has not been well with Miranda: her mother has died, her appetite for non-nourishing items such as chalk and plastic is wasting her away (a condition called pica) and she has a strong sense of the spirit world.

I read the first 100 pages of White is For Witching while suffering from heavy allergies and drinking two glasses of a light red wine (not a sensible combination I know). The combination of the alcohol, the allergies and the sheer atmosphere of madness the novel creates through its content and experimental structure made me feel really weird – a bit sick, and I didn’t sleep well that night.

This experience probably effected my enjoyment of the novel. I put it down for a few days but when I picked it up again I started to get into it more. I think it’s a really striking and well-crafted book, but definitely something you must be in the right mood for. I was impressed to learn the author is only 24-years-old. She has two prior novels; The Icarus Girl and The Opposite House, which apparently deal with similar themes to White is for Witching: family relationships, hauntings, superstition and madness.

Other reviews:

Eva at A Striped Armchair/Paperback Reader/Jenny’s Books/Bird Brain(ed) Book Blog