book cover of The Opposite House
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The Opposite House

(2007)
A novel by

 
 
Maja Carmen Carrerra, the daughter of a black Cuban couple, was only five years old when the family emigrated to London. Growing up, she speaks the Spanish of her native land and the English of her adopted country, but longs for a connection to her African roots. Now in her early twenties, Maja is haunted by thoughts of Cuba and the desire to make sense of the threads of her history. Maja's mother has found comfort in Santeria—a faith that melds Catholic saints and the Yoruba gods of West African religion. Her involvement with Santeria, however, divides the family as Maja's father rails against his wife's superstitions and the lost dreams of the Castro revolution.

Maja's narrative is one of two parallel voices in Oyeyemi's beautifully wrought novel. Yemaya Saramagua speaks from the other side of the reality wall—in the Somewherehouse, which has two doors, one opening to London, the other to Lagos. A Yoruban goddess, Yemaya is troubled by the ease with which her fellow gods have disguised themselves as saints and reappeared under different names and faces.

As Maja and Yemaya move closer to understanding themselves, they realize that the journey to discovering where home truly lies is at once painful and exhilarating.


Genre: Literary Fiction

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