Helen Oyeyemi: 'The Icarus Girl' In her first book, 20-year-old Helen Oyeyemi weaves a lyrical tale of ghosts, twins and growing up between cultures and colors. The young novelist has transformed the tales told to her as a child into an international bestseller.
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Helen Oyeyemi: 'The Icarus Girl'

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Helen Oyeyemi: 'The Icarus Girl'

Helen Oyeyemi: 'The Icarus Girl'

Helen Oyeyemi: 'The Icarus Girl'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4813330/4813355" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

If we were lucky as children, our elders told us stories — fairy tales and heroic journeys, or family lore passed from one generation to the next.

Cover for Helen Oyeyemi's book The Icarus Girl. Doubleday hide caption

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Doubleday

From 'The Icarus Girl'

Oyeyemi reads favorite passages from her novel of mystery and magic:

Eight-year-old Jessamy, visiting Nigeria with her parents, meets a mysterious girl she names Tilly-Tilly.

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Tilly-Tilly follows Jessamy back home to England, and in a fever dream the two struggle for an imaginary baby.

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News and Notes producer Roy Hurst introduces a young novelist who's absorbed these stories of her childhood, and has transformed them into an international best-seller.

In her first book, The Icarus Girl, 20-year-old Helen Oyeyemi weaves a lyrical tale of ghosts, twins and growing up between cultures and colors. The writer was born in Nigeria and raised in London from the age of 4.

Critics are already including her in the canon of other English-language Nigerian authors such as Amos Tutuola, Chinua Achebe and Ben Okri.

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