The Icarus Girl

By Helen Oyeyemi

Jessamy “Jess” Harrison, age 8, is the kid of an English father and a Nigerian mom. Possessed of a rare mind's eye, she has a troublesome time becoming in in school. it's only while she visits Nigeria for the 1st time that she makes a pal who knows her: a ragged little lady named TillyTilly. yet quickly TillyTilly’s visits turn into extra irritating, till Jess realizes she doesn’t really recognize who her buddy is in any respect. Drawing on Nigerian mythology, Helen Oyeyemi offers a remarkable edition at the vintage literary topic of doubles — either actual and non secular — during this lyrical and impressive debut.

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He stated this over Jess’s head, and she or he sneaked a look upwards to work out her mum shaking her head with the corners of her mouth tremblingly downturned. ‘I’ll check with you approximately it later,’ Sarah informed him, infuriating Jess, simply because what used to be this? She used to be performing as though Jess didn’t find out about being in poor health, as though there has been whatever left to understand past the consistent, aching want for the ailment to only leave. So she started out in a nasty temper besides. Dr McKenzie should have been capable of inform, simply because he started tentatively. ‘Jess. you recognize what i used to be speaking approximately earlier than, approximately issues being genuine in numerous methods? ’ Folding her hands, Jess enable herself refill to the very most sensible with indignation at what Siobhan had performed. Why couldn’t she simply close up? If it were Jess, she’d have stored the key, she’d have stored it whether … no matter if she was once close within the basement for years and years. Shivs inspiration that her dad may perhaps repair something, yet Jess already knew and will have informed her at no cost that folks repair not anything – they just driven issues to the ground limits of worse. What was once going to ensue now? Dr McKenzie persisted speaking inspite of Jess’s obdurate silence. ‘Now I’ve been brooding about our final speak, approximately your pal Tilly, and that i considered anything –’ (Oh, this kind of shameful lie, Dr McKenzie, the reality shall set you loose. We either be aware of Shivs informed you. ) ‘Sometimes the different sorts of being actual might be an analogous factor with humans. There are a few things, humans, which could appear very genuine, specially to you, Jess, since you have an immense mind's eye. yet occasionally they aren’t genuine within the similar means that i'm, or your mom is. for instance, when you had not anyone to play with, you could … meet a chum that’s precisely the kind of pal that you simply sought after in each approach –’ ‘TillyTilly isn’t imaginary, you recognize! ’ ‘Why is she so shy, Jess? Why have neither of your mom and dad met her even supposing she performs with you for all time? ’ Jess gave him her foulest stare, looking ahead to him to complete making his aspect, aware of her mother’s personal stern glare at her. She’d get informed off later for being impolite. ‘TillyTilly isn’t imaginary,’ she growled at him. Dr McKenzie didn’t bypass a beat. ‘I recognize she’s no longer imaginary. She’s actual simply because she’s part of you. ’ Jess threw her palms up within the air in frustration at his stupidity. ‘She’s now not! What’s the problem with you? ’ ‘Jessamy, don’t you shout at Dr McKenzie,’ Sarah advised Jess, pleasantly yet with an undertone of metal working in her voice. Jess folded her hands back and stared at her mom, then at Dr McKenzie, who was once deciding upon up the little bowl of Jelly infants. ‘I’m now not having a type of, both. ’ He positioned them down, now not taking one himself this time. He all started speaking to her mom rather than her. ‘Of direction, I’d need to see if Jess will check with me extra approximately … TillyTilly earlier than I diagnose something, however it will be worthy your a few of this fabric, Sarah. ’ Jess watched as he passed her mom a sheet of paper with a few names and titles scribbled on it.

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