Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there's the gingerbread they make...
It would be impossible to discuss Gingerbread...without the mention of fairy tales ... Oyeyemi, as she has done in her earlier work, subverts these tropes through a contemporary idiom, the novel’s real enchantment is its experimentation with storytelling itself ... It is the project of Oyeyemi’s wildly inventive storytelling to superimpose the fantastical over the mundane ... The borderless nature of literature allows Oyeyemi to perform these feints and transmogrifications several times per page and undermine confidence in the storytelling method itself. Some words critics have used to describe this technique are heady, uncanny and surreal–some others might be confusing or frustrating. These words could also be used to describe the experience of dreaming, a state that Oyeyemi is skilled at evoking.
[Oyeyemi's] sentences are like grabbing onto the tail of a vibrant, living creature without knowing what you’ll find at the other end. It’s absolutely exhilarating ... Everything is alive, unpredictable, sometimes whimsical and other times sinister, and often very bizarre ... this remarkable, surprising novel cannot be summed up so easily ... Gingerbread is often funny ... But like Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum before her, Oyeyemi’s work is more than just fairy-tale whimsy and clever humor ... I looked up the meaning of Perdita’s name and laughed to myself. It is Latin for lost. That is how I felt at times in Oyeyemi’s world. A little lost ... Gingerbread is jarring, funny, surprising, unsettling, disorienting and rewarding. It requires the reader to be quick-footed and alert ... This is a wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel that requires some effort and attention from its reader. And that is just one of its many pleasures.
... both stunningly beautiful and breathtakingly original ... Trying to summarize the plot of Gingerbread is like trying to describe a strange dream you had—it's nearly impossible to put something so odd and compelling into words that will actually convey the experience ... And yet Oyeyemi not only pulls it off, she does so with flying colors. She has a gift for getting readers to not only suspend their disbelief, but to throw it out the window entirely. A hugely gifted storyteller, Oyeyemi writes with an infectious glee ... Oyeyemi is a master at pacing; it's hard to put down Gingerbread for even a second ... Gingerbread is an enchanting masterpiece by an author who's refreshingly unafraid to be joyful, and it proves that Oyeyemi is one of the best English-language authors in the world today.