Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

"The Icarus Girl" by Helen Oyeyemi (Bloomsbury, 2005)

Like "26a", it's partly set in Nigeria. The main character, Jess, is 8 when we meet her. She's suffering from a haiku obsession which soon passes. The first-person-privileged PoV and Jess's sporadic precosity mean that language registers are fluid.

  • It was Nigeria. That was the problem.
    Nigeria felt ugly.
    Nye. Jeer. Reee. Ah. (p.9)
  • "sleepy as she was, Jess somehow understood that this woman, ... was not smiling at her in particular, but at a child, at the idea of a child. Because she was an air hostess. Smiling at a child. " (p.10)

Some of the phrasing seems a little careless to me. E.g.

  • "she allowed herself to stare openly and seriously at her grandfather, and he did the same" (p.20)

By the end of part 1 I'm beginning to think that's it's a book written for older children.

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