The Icarus Girl

The Icarus Girlby Helen Oyeyemi

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Anchor (April 11, 2006)
ISBN-10: 140007875X
ISBN-13: 978-1400078752

Jessamy Harrison, the child of a British father and a Nigerian mother, is a sensitive, intelligent, and altogether difficult child. Prone to reading Shakespeare and writing haiku at the tender age of 8, she is also antisocial and regularly throws screaming tantrums that literally make her feverish and ill. Her mother, concerned that her child has no connection to Nigeria, takes Jess to visit her extended family there. Making few connections other than to her beloved grandfather, Jess feels almost as isolated in Nigeria as in England.

When she meets a Nigerian girl about her own age, therefore, Jess is desperate to make friends. Nicknaming her new friend TillyTilly because she has trouble pronouncing her Yoruba name, Jess throws herself wholeheartedly into making TillyTilly like her. After Jess and her family return to England, however, the strange and fey TillyTilly shows up there as well, claiming her family has moved into the area. Jess is too thrilled by having her friend back to really question that story, or even to question why no one but she herself ever seems to see TillyTilly …

Dark, disturbing, and creepily ambiguous, The Icarus Girl adroitly captures the confusion and fear of an intelligent, but young, child thrust into situations beyond her ability to grasp. – LibraryThing reviewer

About the author

Helen OyeyemiHelen Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria in 1984 and has lived in London for most of her life. She wrote her first novel, The Icarus Girl, while she was still at school, her second novel, The Opposite House, was published in 2007, her third, White is for Witching, in 2009, and her fourth, Mr Fox, in 2011. Her plays include Juniper’s Whitening and Victimese, both of which were performed by fellow students while she was studying at Cambridge University. She was included in the Granta Best British novelists list in 2013.

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