BookBrowse Reviews The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

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

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Intertwines folk tales from different cultures in a mesmerizing and haunting story. 1st Novel

From the book jacket: Jessamy "Jess" Harrison is eight years old. Sensitive, whimsical, possessed of an extraordinary and powerful imagination, she spends hours writing haiku, reading Shakespeare, or simply hiding in the dark warmth of the airing cupboard. As the child of an English father and a Nigerian mother, Jess just can't shake off the feeling of being alone wherever she goes, and the other kids in her class are wary of her tendency to succumb to terrified fits of screaming. Believing that a change from her English environment might be the perfect antidote to Jess's alarming mood swings, her parents whisk her off to Nigeria for the first time where she meets her mother's family—including her formidable grandfather.

Jess's adjustment to Nigeria is only beginning when she encounters Titiola, or TillyTilly, a ragged little girl her own age. To Jess, it seems that, at last, she has found someone who will understand her. But gradually, TillyTilly's visits become more disturbing, making Jess start to realize that she doesn't know who TillyTilly is at all.

Comment: At their best, the media reviews for The Icarus Girl glow with praise - at their worst, they offer grudging respect for an impressive first novel from one so young, but point out flaws in this story that weaves Nigerian myth with a classic doppelganger tale. 

At the positive end of the spectrum are The Sunday Telegraph (UK) who acclaim it an "astonishing achievement" and The New York Times who say it is, "Deserving of all its praise."

At the other end of the spectrum  are Kirkus Reviews who feel that "this ambitious psychodrama becomes repetitive in structure and can't always sustain the adult tone," and Publishers Weekly who opine that, "As sophisticated as she is, Jess's eight-year-old observations provide a limited lens, and at times, the novel's fantasy element veers into young adult suspense territory."

As always, you can judge for yourself by reading an excerpt at BookBrowse.

This review was originally published in July 2005, and has been updated for the April 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Story of Arthur Truluv
    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg
    Elizabeth Berg's heartwarming novel scored an an impressive 4.4 average rating from the 48 members ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Strangers in Budapest
    by Jessica Keener

    Strong characters and a riveting plot combine in this psychological thriller set in Budapest.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some to be chewed on and digested.

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

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.