Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

The story of a precocious 8 year-old girl seemingly unable to cope with the pressures of skipping a grade, The Icarus Girl opened strong and certainly captured my interest.

Told from the perspective of the main character Jess, the story unfolds in an appropriately disjointed fashion as she moves between England and Nigeria. Her internalization of Nigerian folk-tales as she attempts to process emerging family secrets is well-drawn, and I certainly felt her pain as her world fractures around her.

Ultimately though, I was disappointed with the deus-ex-machina ending and the total lack of resolution of any of the questions raised in the novel. The story was haunting, and Oyeyemi skillfully built tension with her talented prose, but those skills seemed to evaporate in the final 25-page section of the book. Regardless, the book was a good read, and probably rates 3.5 stars.

1 comment:

jenclair said...

I read this one a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. Oyeyemi was only about 19, I believe, when she wrote it. I kind of liked the mythological blends.