“Parasol Against the Axe” Book Review!

By Surajit Roy

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Discover the mind-bending world of 'Parasol Against the Axe' by Helen Oyeyemi! Dive into a tale of competitive friendship and Prague's mystical influence. Must-read book review!

Embark on a literary adventure through the heart of Prague with Helen Oyeyemi’s captivating novel, “Parasol Against the Axe.” This book transcends the boundaries of traditional storytelling, offering a multifaceted exploration of friendship, memory, and the transformative power of a city.

Book Review Summary

Book Title:Parasol Against the Axe
Author Name:Helen Oyeyemi
Book Genres:Fiction, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Book Category:Adult Fiction, Literary Fiction, Fantasy, African Literature, Literature, Novels
My Rating:4.1/5

About The Author

Helen Oyeyemi, born in Nigeria and raised in South London, captivates readers with her intricate narratives and exploration of diverse cultures. A prodigy, she penned her debut novel, “The Icarus Girl,” during her A-levels. Oyeyemi’s literary prowess blossomed at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Her novels, including “Boy, Snow, Bird” and “Gingerbread,” showcase her talent for blending myth and reality. A celebrated author and judge for esteemed literary prizes, Oyeyemi continues to enrich the literary landscape with her evocative storytelling.

Book Synopsis: Parasol Against the Axe

In “Parasol Against the Axe,” Helen Oyeyemi crafts a mesmerizing tale set in Prague, a city with a mind of its own. Hero Tojosoa reluctantly agrees to attend a bachelorette weekend that her estranged friend Sofie is hosting, only to discover herself engrossed in a world where fiction and reality are muddled. As they confront past secrets and unexpected visitors, the novel delves into the power of storytelling and the complex dynamics of friendship, challenging perceptions and realities.

Book Review Highlights

Friendship Put to the Test: A Weekend in Prague

The story follows Hero Tojosoa, who finds herself reluctantly attending a bachelorette weekend in Prague hosted by her estranged friend, Sofie. As they navigate the city’s enchanting streets, their fractured relationship becomes increasingly strained. However, Prague itself becomes an unexpected participant in their journey, weaving its own narrative into the fabric of their lives.

Beyond the Tourist Guide: Prague as a Living Character

Oyeyemi’s masterful storytelling elevates Prague beyond its postcard-perfect image. The city becomes a sentient being, observing, influencing, and sometimes even manipulating the characters’ experiences. This unique perspective adds a layer of mystery and intrigue, prompting readers to question the lines between reality and perception.

A Metafictional Twist: The Ever-Shifting “Paradoxical Undressing”

Adding another layer of complexity, Oyeyemi introduces the enigmatic novel “Paradoxical Undressing” within the narrative. This book-within-a-book takes on a life of its own, changing its content and characters depending on who reads it. This metafictional element underscores the novel’s central theme: the subjectivity of experience and the fluid nature of truth.

Unveiling Layers of Meaning: A Feast for Literary Minds

Oyeyemi’s prose is rich with literary references and allusions, drawing inspiration from diverse sources like Jorge Luis Borges and G.K. Chesterton. This intellectual depth will resonate with readers who enjoy delving into the complexities of language and literature. However, even those unfamiliar with these references can appreciate the novel’s captivating plot and evocative imagery.

A Story that Lingers: Beyond the Last Page

“Parasol Against the Axe” is not a straightforward read. It challenges and rewards in equal measure, demanding active engagement from the reader. The novel’s lingering questions and open-ended interpretations will undoubtedly spark discussion and reflection long after the final page is turned.


If you’re seeking a conventional, linear narrative, this may not be the book for you. However, if you’re an adventurous reader who craves a unique and thought-provoking experience, “Parasol Against the Axe” is a must-read. Prepare to be swept away by Oyeyemi’s masterful storytelling as you embark on a captivating journey through the heart of Prague and the depths of human relationships.

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Surajit Roy

I'm a trade compliance specialist by profession, ensuring adherence to regulations. As a hobbyist author, I've published four non-fiction and one fiction novel. I indulge in writing book reviews, quotes, and articles on international business, leveraging my expertise to share valuable insights and information with others.

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