Jessamy "Jess" Harrison is an eight year old caught between two worlds. Born to a British father and a Nigerian mother, she has forever felt like she doesn't belong. Jessamy is precocious but has difficulty getting along in school; she throws tantrums seemingly at random and makes life a challenge for her parents. Believing that a change from her English environment might be the perfect antidote to Jess's troubles, her parents whisk her off to Nigeria to visit relatives.
But Jessamy's plight is only beginning when she meets Titiola, or TillyTilly, who happens to be invisible to everyone else but perfectly real to Jess. Gradually, Tilly's presence in Jessamy's life becomes more and more disturbing; she appears out of nowhere, makes fearful things happen to those who give Jess trouble. One day TillyTilly informs Jess that she, Jess, had had a twin who was stillborn. Tilly, it seems, may have come from the Spirit World to be the sister that Jess never had - no matter the means.
The Icarus Girl is a haunting tale about doubles - both in a real and spiritual sense. With genuineness, grace and confidence, Helen Oyeyemi brings us into Jessamy's world and makes the fantastic seductively tangible.
©2005 Helen Oyeyemi (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Oyeyemi subtly weaves together Nigerian myth and a classic doppelganger tale to create a sensitive and precocious debut." (Booklist)
"Oyeyemi brilliantly conjures up the raw emotions and playground banter of childhood.... A masterly first novel." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Haunting and suspense-filled." (The Washington Post Book World)
I won't review the book itself - there are plenty reviews of this book. I will, however review the narrator. The woman narrating this book is superb. It says Stefan Rudnicki, so I'm confused because the narrator is almost assuredly a woman.Whoever it is - breezes in and out of accents. It is deliciously narrated.
If you require a conclusive definite ending, this novel is not for you. If you like being left with food for thought, you'll find that this novel offers much to feed your imagination. The novel is thoughtful, at times disturbing, and complex.
The description is in error, though. The narrator is Bahni Turpin (who you may have heard give voice to the Minny point of view in "The Help.") Stefan Rudnicki is the producer. Bahni Turpin delivers another wonderful performance.
I probably would not have noticed or picked up this audio book had it not been offered in a $4.95 sale when I had a $10 cash credit at Audible. The Audible editors had chosen books for that particular sale that they thought weren't getting the attention they deserved. They were right. Good call, and thanks, Audible.
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