Gadis Icarus
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Gadis Icarus

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  1,558 ratings  ·  234 reviews
Jessamy Harrison adalah gadis kecil delapan tahun yang kesepian. Sebagai anak berdarah campuran Inggris-Nigeria, Jess selalu merasa sendirian, di mana pun berada. Anak-anak lain takut padanya karena ia suka menjerit-jerit tanpa sebab. Oleh ibunya Jess dibawa ke Nigeria, untuk pergantian suasana.

Di sanalah Jess pertama kali bertemu Titiola, gadis kecil sebayanya yang muncul...more
Softcover, 392 pages
Published June 2006 by PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama (first published January 1st 2005)
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okay so the ending - who knows - but the rest of the book had a lot of enjoyable writing. its true it was predictable and there were some inconsistencies, but then i realized she was 17 when she wrote this, so i forgave the flaws.(so magnanimous, i) it would have been 4 stars, but that ending.... but i have her other novel so ill read that, and the new one is out soon and im sure that they will be more mature but still retaining the "good bits" from this first one.
Nov 08, 2007 Rafe rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most people
As an English teacher, I spend a lot of time being told to tell teenagers that the "only" important West African author is Chinua Achebe. Having long believed that Benjamin Oke and Sole Woyinka prove that wrong, I was delighted to find The Icarus Girl, and in it, a lovely, slightly scary story about a Nigerian/British girl. It is more Western than most "Africa" books; more African than most English books. In all, it is a delight, and I look forward to reading more from the same author.
It has taken me way longer than it should to get through this 320 page book. I just couldn't do it. I lost interest 100 pages into it, not because it was boring but because it just wasn't engaging. I didn't form any attachments to the characters, I didn't look forward to picking it up in my free time to continue reading, and i'm not at all curious as to how the plot will pan out (Ok maybe just a little curious, but not enough). Although i do have to say that even though i wasn't so invested in i...more
I didn't go to sleep the night I finished this novel. I got into bed and attempted to read my chapter or two and ended up reading until I was 5 o'clock in the morning! Every time I finished one chapter, I had to read the next and then the next. But nothing ever happened...other than extreme creepiness due to the main character, 8 year old Jess's evil-creepy alter ego/spirit/imaginary friend of the same age. I had way too many questions when this story was done. I mean, I like it when t...more
Leah Tallawah
If you believe there is a fine line between madness and psychic abilities this is a fascinating look at one trouble young girl's life. Well worth the read even if you don't hold those beliefs.
Zoe Brooks
I am not sure what it was about this book that didn't engage me. I have to admire the fact that it was written when the author was in her last year at secondary school. And there is some very good writing in this novel. But somehow the book just misses the mark.

The premise is interesting, if familiar, and suited to magic realism. A highly sensitive and imaginative child divided between cultures (the Nigerian of her mother and white British of her father) goes visit her grandfather in Nigeria whe...more
While this debut novel is certainly an impressive achievement for an 18-year-old writer, it's hard to escape the conclusion that purely on its own merits as a book, it's rather flat. Apparently partially inspired by the author's own troubles as a child, the story centers on the psychological problems of 8-year-old Jessamy. The lonely only child of a Nigerian woman and English father, she lives in the suburbs of Kent, England, and we meet her for the first time as she hides in a linen closet. The...more
This has a pretty, literary cover and a pretty, literary title and so I thought it would be, at most, part of the Todorovan fantastic, maybe it is real and maybe it is imagined/insanity, which, honestly, I find one of the most boring conceits in all of literature most of the time. But no! There is an ACTUAL GHOST. Or perhaps not a ghost. But an actual supernatural being. Structurally, this is a very traditional ghost story. The prose is lovely, but my favorite thing is Jess and her reserve (must...more
I first read this novel in 2009 and was enchanted by it as evidenced by my initial review (2009 Book 97). So I was very pleased when I suggested it to our library reading group and members agreed that it seemed an interesting choice. On a second reading I was even more impressed by its beauty, strangeness and charm.

After recently reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah I also felt that I was better able to appreciate The Icarus Girl's theme of race as experienced by a young woman of mixed...more
What a complex book-- I am still absorbing it, even though I finished it a week or so back. And the fact that it was written while the author was still in school. Egads! I am humbled and awed.

From the first minutes of meeting 8 year old Jessamy, who was hiding in the airing closet (we don't have those here, but I know what they are!) rather than play with other children her age, I was swept into the writing. Jess, is bright, precocious, unpopular and prone to screaming tantrums and is also the d...more
Salah satu buku yang saya perlu waktu yang lamaaa sekali untuk menyelesaikannya :D. Sebenernya bukan karena ceritanya tidak menarik, tapi ya… nyari waktunya itu. Dan buku ini beberapa kali tertinggal di ruangan kerja saya di kampus.

Jessamy, yang biasa dipanggil Jess, adalah seorang gadis kecil berusia 8 tahun dengan ibu dari Nigeria dan ayah dari Inggris. Jess tinggal bersama keluarganya di Inggris. Suatu waktu, Jess dan keluarganya berlibur ke Nigeria, kampung halaman ibunya. Dan di Nigeria in...more
Ian Wood
There's a complete spoiler-ridden review on my blog.

Helen Oyeyemi (is that an awesome name or what?!) was only eighteen when she wrote this novel. I've seen no word as to why a novel so closely tied to Africa has a title taken from Greek mythology! The story begins with Jessamy Harrison hiding in a cupboard. Her mother finally locates her and asks her how she would like to go to Nigeria for a vacation, and off they go to visit her mum's family. Jess feels just as alienated in Nigeria as she did...more
The first time this book caught my eye was when I heard that the author, Helen Oyeyemi, was only 17 years old at the start of this book. Being only 16, this of course sparked my interest, then I heard what the book was actually about and I knew I had to read it. Being an obsessor of fairy tales and where the line is drawn between good and bad, I could have sworn this book was written for me. I was not disappointed.

The character of TillyTilly was absolutely fascinating, one second seeming as an a...more
I'm not sure how much to say about the plot of The Icarus Girl. It's not hard to figure out what's really going on in the story if you give it some effort, so it's not like I'm giving wild spoilers or anything. But then again - what about those readers who would like to know as little as possible going in to a story like this? I guess I'll try to skirt the issue as much as I can, but if you're planning on reading this and want to remain untainted by anything resembling a spoiler, now is the time...more
I wanted to love this book. The themes of duality, sisters/twins, and cultural identity were engaging, but it seemed like these were never fully explored, despite the length of the book. The author, Helen Oyeyemi, spends over 300 pages drawing readers into her story, inviting them to wonder what kind of entity is at play with the main character, Jess/Wuraola. Jess is the nine-year-old daughter of a Yoruba, Nigerian mother and an English father. Jess is an exceptionally clever child, but has not...more
Nancy Baker
I was incredibly jealous when I realized she wrote this while in school. It's a classic "dangerous imaginary friend" novel with a twist. The author is considered a mainstream literary novelist but anyone who likes slipstream fiction will enjoy this one and her other books (I've read White is for Witching and Mr. Fox).
Qualcuno lo definisce fantasy, altri realismo magico e io propenderei più per questa seconda definizione, sicuramente c'è tanto della cultura africana, anche se questa bimba vive in inghilterra, da padre inglese e mamma africana, passa le sue vacanze estive in Nigeria dai parenti e vive per un anno intero una storia con una parte di se nascosta (anche se non è la definizione giusta) che la porterà a vivere momenti belli, ma anche molti momenti tristi e forti. In alcuni punti l'ho trovato travolg...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Initial reaction: Ehhhh I'm not sure about my rating of this yet. I had mixed feelings about this book. The style of it was interesting, although I went back and forth between liking it and hating it. I also think the use of Nigerian mythology was super cool--but unfortunately as it went on, it became less focused on that aspect and more focused on following a pretty typical cheesy-horror-movie plot, which was disappointing. Also the ending frustrated me so much that I literally threw the book o...more
It took me ages to read this book. I would start it but never get past a few chapters, not because it was bad but just because i never felt engaged enough to want to continue. When i finally did finish it i thought it was okay but i still didn't feel very engaged, the story was interesting but i think i was always waiting for the story to really pick up but it just kind of stayed at the same pace - then the end just fizzled out. I was left thinking 'is that it?' i was hoping for a bit more oomph...more
Strange book, beautiful but perhaps a little too metaphorical to get lost in an explanation so trivial as that of the third sister, even if virtual. The story might have been different, I will not say better, but perhaps more consistent, if the author had been limited to dealing metaphorically on the difficulty of bringing together two worlds so different as Nigeria and England. But maybe I just did not understand, and all the author wanted was for just to tell the story of a little girl and her...more
Words that come to mind when reading The Icarus Girl: haunting, magical.

Jessamy Harrison is eight years old. She is a fickle-tempered eight year old with no friends, who constantly feels herself being torn in two: she is black and white, Nigerian and English. She cannot and will not decide, and doesn't realize that she doesn't have to. Jessamy is haunted by a mysterious, possessive and magical friend who no one else can see, someone who looks exactly like her but goes by the name of TillyTilly....more
Abbi B
I absolutely adored this debut. Telling the story of a clever but confused little girl caught in an internal conflict between Nigerian myths and English reality, Oyeyemi carries the reader from genuine terror to breath-catching sorrow with steady, lyrical prose. Although you could say the second half is a bit unordered and nonsensical, for me that just emphasised Jessamy's unravelling mental stability. Incredible, especially for such a young writer.
This book scared the crap out of me. No joke. If you want to start looking at dark corridors with hesitation, read this book. I loved that I was genuinely frightened. Once again my issue with Helen is her endings...I feel so disappointed after getting through the book because of her endings! But I gotta say there was a lot that I liked about this book. I liked the creepiness of it, the cultural elements of the book that flowed beautifully from Nigeria to England and back. It's a magical experien...more
when I first picked this book from my own library, I wasn't sure I'd be reading it all. It sounded like a very strange story. I loved it! I must admit, I did not like the ending, but that's just my opinion. This story is about Jessamy, an 8 year old girl living in England. Her father is white and her mom is from Nigeria, and Jessy feels like no one likes her, she doesn't fit in. Her parents take her to Nigeria for a visit with family, and there she meets another little girl called Titiola. She c...more
Considering the author wrote this while still in Secondary school, it's a pretty amazing achievement. However there are a number of areas where the author's age and inexperience show through to the detriment of the work as a whole. Overall I'd rate it soso, but a valiant first attempt from a promising young writer.
Jess is an 8-year-old child who can't find her place at school, or anywhere else.
She can't cope with reality, and the problem gets bigger after a trip to Nigeria, where she meets Tilly-Tilly, a girl about her age who's really her dopplegänger, and who in turn appears to have some kind of personality disorder.
At some point Jess's dead twin sister makes an appearance, too, and things start getting really complicated, interfering with the only true friendship that Jess has found.
African folklore...more
I didn't realise until I'd already started The Icarus Girl that it was written by a teenager (Helen Oyeyemi wrote it while preparing for her A-levels). It's as well that I didn't find this out until after I'd discovered the quality of Oyeyemi's prose, as I have an unfortunate tendency to dismiss books by Teen Prodigies as being marketed more on the youth of their authors than the contents of their pages. This is doubly unfair, since a) I've read plenty of poorly-written books by older, experienc...more
I could not put this book down. Jessamy Harrison is a young girl living in England, the product of a marriage between an English man and Nigerian woman. She is a solitary child who doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. When her parents take her to meet her family in Nigeria when she is eight, she finds a friend there, Tatiola, or TillyTilly, as Jess calls her. The question is, though, is Tilly real? It becomes very clear she is not when she follows Jess back to England. However, Jess finds Tilly more...more
A quick, engrossing read about a young girl, the child of a Nigerian mother and an English father, who causes trouble for her family, teachers and schoolmates because of her sensitivity. Her parents take her to Nigeria to meet the African side of her family, but her troubles take a frightening turn when she befriends a mysterious girl about her own age named Titiola.

This story has a supernatural element to it. Thankfully it has not been made into a movie--if it were, it would probably become a h...more
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Helen Oyeyemi is a British novelist and playwright. She was born in Nigeria in 1984 and raised in London. She wrote her widely acclaimed first novel, The Icarus Girl, before her nineteenth birthday; she graduated from Cambridge University in 2006, where she studied social and political sciences. In 2013 she was included in the Granta Best Of Young British Novelists list.
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“Once you let people know anything about what you think, that's it, you're dead. Then they'll be jumping about in your mind, taking things out, holding them up to the light and killing them, yes, killing them, because thoughts are supposed to stay and grow in quiet, dark places, like butterflies in cocoons.” 9 likes
“Would that be dangerous, to not look while being looked at?” 4 likes
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