What is Not Yours is Not Yours is a collection of short stories written by Helen Oyeyemi, all
tied together through the motif of keys--a key to a heart, a key to a house, or the key to a solution.
Not all of these short stories take place at the same time or in the same place, but there are certain
short stories that have overlapping characters or small details that remind you of something else you
might have read--keys that unlock the relationship between the different short stories. These
somewhat intuitive connections are thought-provoking and the feeling of finding a key that unlocks
your understanding of the text is a satisfying and fulfilling one. The central theme present throughout
the entire novel (composed of nine short stories) is the coexistence of reality and fiction. What a
reader can interpret from reading this novel is that the exposure of a person to the realms of fact and
fiction influences the person’s beliefs, and those beliefs determine where and at what times they
encounter the polar worlds, creating a cycle of judgment and experience. Above all, fact and fiction
have such a great power that they can alter a person’s cognition, and if you like the feeling of
simultaneous deep confusion and understanding, you’ll love the worlds Oyeyemi plunges you into.