The Icarus Girl
By Helen Oyeyemi
Those of us who are of mixed origin often face this dilemma; am I “this” or am I “that”. People are constantly asking what are you, looking for some clear definition they often say well you must be more that than this, don’t you think? I usually shake my head in a noncommittal way and shrug my shoulder, eh, does that make me French…
Oyeyemi, if I may be so bold, is a kindered spirit, half Nigerian and half English caught on a cultural tight rope dancing cautiously between the African and European continents. Her main character (perhaps a mini-me version of the author) is a strong willed girl trying to fit in “somewhere” to find her place but circumstances arise, as they always do, to complicate things. An evil entity enters the scene causing mischief and concern for all those around her tearing at the delicate fabric of normalcy.
It’s a charming story that I really enjoyed but IMHO a good 40 or so pages could have been edited out to keep the story flowing, a number of passages seem repetitive and unnecessary. Great first novel by a young writer of enormous talent.