Brian Malloy’s acclaimed debut novel titled, The Year Of The Ice has its setting in Minneapolis in the late 70s.
This book is a story of a painfully revealing year, threatening to shatter the tenuous bonds between a father and his teenage son.
Teenager Kevin, our narrator, is coping with the recent death of his mother in a car accident (or was it suicide?). But perhaps most significant of all, Kevin is coming to grips with the certainty that he is gay – a seemingly perfect storm in one young man’s life.
Complicating the family dynamic is the constant meddling of Kevin’s outspoken Aunt Nora–who will never forgive Patrick for Eileen’s death–along with Patrick’s inability to stay single for very long.
Malloy does a magnificent job with Kevin, who brings his share of blind spots, quirks, and painful-to-watch conflicts to the table.
And the author’s consummate skill in character creation is not limited to his “leads” – rather, even the numerous “supporting” cast members are brought to brilliant life as well.
For gripping plots, twists, and turns underpinned by family secrets, we can recognize and cheer for characters, and a keenly-depicted setting that rings true.
Readers would be hard-pressed to walk away from this exceptional novel without a lasting impression.
Barbara Green, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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