It's been a long time since I read a book that's kept me as interested, and had as many pleasant and frightening surprises, as Helen Oyeyemi'sThe Icarus Girl [Doubleday/Nan Talese, June 21]. She wrote it when she was 18, and she's 20 now. She's just a prodigious talent. It's a novel about a young girl in London who's having bewildering tantrums. So her parents try to pacify her with a summer holiday in Nigeria, where she meets another eight year-old, Tilly Tilly, who fills her with excitement and mirth. But later, when the family is back in London, the menacing and memorable Tilly Tilly inexplicably shows up on their doorstep. It's The Bad Seed meets Toni Morrison's Beloved: a page-turner and also beautifully written.

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