White Is For Witching
by Helen Oyeyemi
Dissimilar to other haunted house novels, it does not commence with a paranormal investigation, rather a disappearance of Miranda Silver (Miri). The story recounts the path of Miri’s life leading to her disappearance, which intertwines with an ancestral home that does not want to relinquish its grasp on the Silver women, clinching even to their demise and anyone who is not welcomed. There are creaks and whispers, a flicker of light then darkness; it will open to consume. Does it sate the desires and the needs?
Oyeyemi, composes a poetic story laced with similes and allegories, narrated from four perspectives, Miri, her lover Ore, her twin brother Eliot, and the omniscient house. Each character contributes to a lucid story, maintaining an individualistic perspective, creating distinctive and empathic characters especially Miri, who suffers from an unusual disorder, pica. The house casts a forbidding umbra with its omniscient capability. Back dropped in frigid Dover, England, fused with Caribbean folk tales of voodoo and a soucouyant, a creature portrayed as a decrepit woman by day, and by night, abandons its skin to roam the dark sky as a fireball in search of exuberant youths to drain their life essences, blood, initiates an eerie supernatural realm concurrent to the mundane qualities of the political back dropping of foreign affairs.
I would highly recommend “White Is For Witching”, for its darkly elegant prose and its gothic horror qualities of varied love, desire, and labyrinthine house. Lastly, read it for the grapple of life, Miri’s life.