“The Country of Ice Cream Star”3/4/2015
I love post-apocalyptic fiction. A shattered land, the sputtering hope and the triumph of heroes in the most desperate circumstances draws me in like a moth to the flame. In “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” award-winning author Sandra Newman delivers a stunning piece of post-apocalyptic literature, epic in scale and full of the roughhewn, unforgettably brave and achingly melodic characters.
This is a phenomenal book on many levels. The unrelenting plot is deep, varied and addictive. The story is told in first-person narrative from the viewpoint of the title character, Ice Cream Star. Her voice is unique but somehow bitingly familiar. The rolling, beautiful language is startlingly familiar and yet foreign, much like the remains of the “Nighted States” that makeup the setting for Ice Cream Star’s journey.
The characters live in a world of children. Before reaching the age of 20, they all die of a mysterious disease called Posies — a plague that has killed several generations of people going back 80 years. The rumors of a cure draw Ice Cream Star on a treacherous journey to save her brother, her own life and the life she holds in such reverence. Along the way she is captured, treated with kindness and cruelty, and encounters great love and great pain, all for the sake of freedom and the sake of hope.
Newman’s descriptions of the factions that have sprung up in the new world, the dialogues, the people, the half-remembered rituals and pieces of the past are incredibly vivid. It becomes a treasure hunt to find the bones of the past hidden in the remains Ice Cream Star lives in. This is an astonishing book that will stick with you long after the last page. CV
Julie is a collector of unusual words, strange friends and obsolete college degrees. She lives in Grimes with an obscene number of books. She’s just killing time, waiting for a mad man in a blue box.