Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Icarus Girl

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Icarus Girl

by Helen Oyeyemi

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi X
The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 352 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

This article relates to The Icarus Girl

Print Review

Helen Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria in 1984 and has lived in London from the age of four.

Even though she says she doesn't do happiness - 'I don't trust it' - she had much to smile about in 2004 when Bloomsbury UK (J.K. Rowling's publisher) signed her up for a two-book deal at the age of 19 years, on the basis of the manuscript of The Icarus Girl that she wrote while studying for her A-Levels (exams taken before leaving UK high schools). She says, 'I signed the contract on the day I got my exam results'. Although she refuses to reveal the size of the advance she says its enough to put her through university and help out her parents financially (her father teaches children with special needs and her mother works on the London Underground (the subway system).

She is now a student of social and political sciences at Cambridge University and is working on her second novel about Cuban mythology. She says that on leaving university she plans to get a 'proper job'. Even though she acknowledges some writers do live on their earnings she says, "I need to get a life - and you need time to grow as a writer...I think the Icarus Girl is an apprentice work. I was still at school when I wrote it. I love the story it tells but I think the writing's flawed, I wish I could rewrite it. Some of it makes me cringe now".

When she was 13 she suffered from clinical depression and at 15 she attempted suicide, taking a cocktail of sleeping pills and painkillers. Her psychiatrist suggested she should go to Nigeria for a long holiday (like her protaganist). She says, 'it fixed me up. I don't know what happened but it was the best thing that's ever happened to me...' .

She has been shortlisted for the 2006 British Book Awards Decibel Writer of the
Year Award (awarded to an author who is of African, Caribbean or Asian descent) -
she's got stiff competition, the other three authors shortlisted are Diana Evans, Nadeem Aslam and Zadie Smith.

Filed under

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Icarus Girl. It originally ran in July 2005 and has been updated for the April 2006 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: To Be a Man
    To Be a Man
    by Nicole Krauss
    While, as its title hints, To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss is concerned with masculinity, it renders a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Office of Historical Corrections
    The Office of Historical Corrections
    by Danielle Evans
    In The Office of Historical Corrections, the second story collection from Danielle Evans, readers ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Dutch House
    by Ann Patchett

    The Dutch House is my introduction to Ann Patchett, which, after reading it, surprises me. I had ...

  • Book Jacket: Nights When Nothing Happened
    Nights When Nothing Happened
    by Simon Han
    A quiet atmosphere of dread permeates Simon Han's subdued debut novel Nights When Nothing Happened. ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Fortunate Ones
    by Ed Tarkington

    An engrossing story of class, love, and loyalty for fans of Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Prophets
    by Robert Jones Jr.

    A stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Moment of Lift
by Melinda Gates
How can we summon a moment of lift for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.
Who Said...

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T T T Light F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.