ISSN: 20428022
First published in 2011
2 issues per volume
Volume 7 Issue 2
Cover Date: November 2017
Mirrors and webs: Fairy tales, cultural memory and trauma in Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird and Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys
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Authors:  Maria Tatar 
DOI: 10.1386/btwo.7.2.177_1

African American,Walter Benjamin,fairy tale,fantasy,Neil Gaiman,Grimm,Helen Oyeyemi,storytelling

Helen Oyeyemi and Neil Gaiman both draw on the mythical imagination in their novels about hyperdysfunctional families and the process of healing from traumatic experience. Invoking the racially encoded story known to European and Anglo-American cultures as ‘Snow White’ as well as on a dilemma tale from African cultures, Helen Oyeyemi reconfigures both stories in Boy, Snow, Bird to take up the complexities of race, gender, and identity and to navigate the fraught terrain of mother–daughter relationships. Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys turns to the rich repertoire of stories about African Tricksters for a portrait of the artist as a figure who works his way through conflicted family relationships to an understanding of ambivalence, duplicity, and deceit as life-sustaining dispositions. Both writers invoke totem creatures and fairy-tale tropes to guide us through the thickets of domestic drama and psychic trauma.
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