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A teenage girl is in the passenger seat; the driver is an older man. As they criss-cross America, destined for who knows where, she watches him and wants…what he is, what he has. She sees the black looks and knowing smiles they attract but believes they are safe in their small, charmed world of backroads, motels and diners.
Her companion knows the road does not go on forever.
The Ice Age is a brilliant new take on the road novel. It evokes Kerouac and Nabokov in equal measure, describing an irresistible arc through the shining, translucent moment at the end of childhood. Earthy, lyrical, laced with sly humour and sharp observation, Kirsten Reed’s superb debut presents a young protagonist to fear and rejoice for—and a young writer to watch closely.
‘Compelling—the twenty-first century love child of Lolita and Huck Finn.’
‘Reed has forged a striking and consistently convincing voice for this tale of slowly discovered maturity…the prose is full of dynamic shorthand and underplayed colloquial bite…A confident and promising first novel.’
‘Reed turns all her standard props into something disconcertingly, raucously, intelligently new…at once comic, ironic, wistful and wise…Reed does extremely well at controlling her characters, finding clever ways to make mundane incidents or landscape memorable, and keeping us continually interested.’
‘A tender, compelling work.‘
‘In her assured and evocative debut novel, Kirsten Reed offers a fresh take on the well-worn genre of the road story. Reed…captures the spirit of freedom that accompanies perpetual movement but also the dislocated sensation of drifting through life in an unsettled, unhinged way…Reed weaves a childlike innocence though the girl’s bravado without being patronising or over-simplifying; she has created a character who is fiercely inquisitive, precociously intelligent and impatient for new experiences…a narrative voice that is authentic and powerful.’
‘Reed writes in an arresting, confronting voice, getting the confused child-woman balance just right. A compelling road novel.’
‘An assured debut, The Ice Age is a compelling and memorable story. Reed is an insightful writer who has captured perfectly the moment a girl shifts from child to adult.’