Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi – Review

Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: May 2021
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Pages: 256
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋.5/5

“The Lakes and Mountains Route, that’s what it said on our ticket, along with our names, the name of the train, and the name of our carriage. That was it.”

Helen Oyeyemi, Peaces

Peaces follows the journey of a couple named Otto and Xavier Shin and their mongoose Árpád. They are not married, but have declared their love for one another so they call it their non-honeymoon honeymoon which was a gift from Xavier’s aunt. They board a train called The Lucky Day, but they soon discover that this is no ordinary train. Each carriage is more peculiar than the next and the same can be said about each character we meet as the story progresses.

Along the way they meet some interesting people on the train including permanent resident of the train named Ava Kapoor. She has a special relationship with a character called Prêm. In the beginning you have no idea how they fit into the story, but as you carry on reading it becomes clearer how this character is linked to the others.

“This carriage wasn’t open plan like the previous ones. It was neat and functional and sensible and felt like a different train all together.”

This novel is very much character driven and I enjoyed getting to learn about the different characters and their backgrounds as well as how this has shaped their current relationships and who they have become.

I don’t really read much literary fiction, but from what I’ve read this is a perfect example of the genre. You’re not just reading it to get to the end or to the climax, the story itself is the journey and we delve into the characters pasts and that’s the interesting part. You honestly have no idea what is going to happen next.

Every character is extremely different to the next, and we eventually learn the role each of them plays in the story and how it all ties together in the end.

It was a very different read compared to my usual genres, but I’m glad I took the time to finish this book. I did find myself a bit confused at times as to how certain details fit into the story and therefore took longer than I expected to finish the book. If you do enjoy literary fiction then I would recommend checking this book out.

Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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