Porochista Khakpour in The New York Times:
Strange times, crowed too many wise and unwise men over the millenniums. But as the art critic Jerry Saltz wrote in New York magazine last fall, maybe we’re finally at a point where the strangeness of the times is matched by an ability to accept it. In defending the perplexing Kanye West video “Bound 2,” Saltz heralded this as an age of the New Uncanny. The all-American banal-bizarre spectacle of the video (synthetic sunsets; slow-motion galloping stallions; the nippleless ingénue) is “a freakish act of creation and destruction by appropriation,” what Saltz deems “part of a collective cultural fracturing.” Saltz is riffing on Freud’s description of the uncanny as “nothing new or alien, but something familiar and old-established in the mind and which has become alienated from it only through the process of repression.” But maybe we’re not as alienated as we once were, something that occurred to me when beholding another unapologetic, all-encompassing contradiction-celebration: the story-allegory and real-surreal gyre of Helen Oyeyemi’s gloriously unsettling new novel, “Boy, Snow, Bird.”
Oyeyemi is from Strange Times. Raised in Britain by Nigerian parents, the 29-year-old five-time novelist isn’t even affiliated with a single home anymore: London, New York, Berlin, Barcelona, Budapest, Prague — who knows where she is doing her thing at any given moment? For years I saw her as something of a literary mystic, reading her with a mixture of awe, confusion and delight, but only now do I feel that we’re at a place where we can properly receive her, and she’s ready for us too. With “Boy, Snow, Bird,” a culmination of a young life spent culling dreamscapes, Oyeyemi’s confidence is palpable — it’s clear that this is the book she’s been waiting for.