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Ice Age [Paperback]

Kirsten Reed
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Kindle Edition 5.37  
Paperback 6.88  
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Book Description

7 May 2010


A young inquisitive girl hitches a lift with an older charismatic Bohemian man. Neither has a final destination in mind, and so they find themselves drifting aimlessly through middle America; driving, smoking, sharing confidences, looking out for each other, and stopping as and when the mood takes them. Their relationship is pure, simple -- and when they do finally have sex, it's she who makes the first move. But this is a strange, stolen time that must come to an end: the girl will grow up; the man’s past will catch up with him; and the world outside will not accept their relationship.

With shades of Lolita and Morvern Callar, The Ice Age is a remarkable first novel, with an exceptional voice that's both seductive and compelling, and which readers will quite simply fall in love with.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (7 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330513354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330513357
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 685,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kirsten Reed is the author of many short stories, and the novel The Ice Age, which was shortlisted in the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize 'Best First Book' category. Also an artist and illustrator, she lives in Deer Isle, Maine.

Product Description


`I was totally entranced by this amazing debut novel. I love the way it lurches from sexy to utterly horrifying in an eye-blink. The narrator is both precocious and naïve, clever and stupid and just absolutely, perfectly charming. This is one of the most beautiful and brutal and brilliant portrayals of teenage girlhood I have ever read. It's unflinchingly honest, heartbreakingly romantic, strange and totally captivating.' --Florence Welch, FLORENCE + THE MACHINE

`A completely hypnotic road trip . . . You should buy this book immediately.'
--Dazed & Confused

`Sometimes a book comes along that seems so far up the Dazed readership's alley that it would be churlish not to make it Book Of The Month. 36-year-old Kirsten's Reeds debut novel is one such book; a supremely cool, completely hypnotic American road trip that we enjoyed so much that we haven't been able to stop going on about it for weeks . . . [The Ice Age] is relayed in the pitch-perfect vernacular of a bright and troubled American small-town teen . . . it's not so much a tale of innocence lost as a tale of innocence buggered into a black hole forever, but Reed has crafted it all into a funny and shocking and spookily moving story of coming-of-age in contemporary America. The Ice Age has definitely been the book of our month. You should go out and buy it immediately and make it yours.'
--Book of the Month, Dazed & Confused

`[an] utterly compelling novel . . . The voice of the girl is fresh, spiky and wonderfully imagined.'
--The Times

'Reed does a brilliant job with The Ice Age, detailing compellingly and candidly her main character's life-changing experiences as she travels from town to town encountering a whole host of messed-up characters. As a result it's a gripping, gritty, occasionally uncomfortable and yet strangely romantic read, as we discover more about our fearless narrator and her changing view of the world.' --The List

'There's a lot of promise in `The Ice Age' and, while it's bound to resonate more with readers of a similar age to the narrator, Reed proves she's a talent to keep an eye on.' --Time Out

'Florence (of `The Machine' fame) loves Kirsten Reed's The Ice Age. Who are we to argue?'

'Very occasionally a debut novel comes along that is fresh and exciting, full of energy and originality, which manages to be both shocking and deeply felt. The Ice Age is one such rare example. No wonder it's already been lauded by teams of hipsters, including singer Florence Welch, who provides an insightful jacket quote. Yet, The Ice Age's appeal and resonance will go far wider than any youth cult. Indeed, what the author's done is no less that reinvigorate that classic rites-of-passage staple, the road trip. But it's not just Jack Kerouac's One The Road that Kirsten Reed has drawn from. She's also delved into adolescent angst á la The Catcher In The Rye and more than dipped her toes into the shocking, sexualised small-town terrain of Nabokov's Lolita. It's a heady brew all right, and you take on such big guns at your peril. But Reed has pulled it off triumphantly... for those who care about intelligent, stylish narratives you are in for one hell of a ride.' --Book of the Week, Daily Mirror

'More impressive is the assurance with which Reed puts words into her 17-year-old narrator's mouth, creating a sympathetic character who is sassy without being irritating, and insightful while remaining convincingly adolescent... at its best Reed's coming-of-age tale is as sharp as one of Gunther's fangs.' --Financial Times

'Tight and comic, this manages to be both fiercely unsentimental and intensely romantic.'

'The narrator is a volatile mix of precocity and naivety, charmingly but perilously unaware of her own allure to the opposite sex. Along the way, she learns some very adult lessons, but it's the enduring tendency of her odd relationship with Gunther that keeps the pages turning.'
--Daily Mail

'The Ice Age is based partially on the author's own teenage diaries recording a smiliar trip, and Reed's tone, for the most part unslipping, is the beating heart to the novel. The narrator's voice carries the story with grace and cool, even when vulnerable and uncertain, and her adolescent honesty means she loves more wholeheartedly than any of the adults in her book.' --TLS

'We knew there was something pretty special about the debut novel from Kirsten Reed...The narrator has one of the most refreshing and realistic voices we've heard for ages.'

''s the narrator's ironic commentaries on her hair-raising experiences that enchant on this road trip and make it an irresistible journey.' --WBQ

Featured in Grazia's 'Secretly Addicted to...' slot

About the Author

Kirsten Reed was born in 1973 in Seattle. She grew up in New Zealand, Germany and various parts of the US before moving to Australia as an adult. She now lives in Brisbane, and works as a freelance artist and writer. The Ice Age is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edgy, punkish 7 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this book. It was crisp and edgy, perfect for the characters who traverse the United States in a rather haphazzard road trip.

The story is told from the point of view of a feisty 17yr old (goodness, I don't think we are ever told her name!), who hitches a ride with blonde, much older, Gunther. He seems to be travelling randomly across the country with occasional visits to old friends as his only destinations. Together they drive, eat, and sleep, day upon day - and as they do, so their relationship develops. The sexual tension is palpable at times but he is very aware of the age difference and does his best to repect her innocence. She, meanwhile, is drawn to Gunther and is determined to lose her innocence to make herself more appealing.
The novel is entierly character driven but the characters were fascinating and the pages kept turning. There were no chapters, which normally annoys me, yet seemed totally appropriate here.

A brilliant read for older teens (be warned: There are some rather blatant sex scenes) and adults.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky style 21 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book was a little different, the writing style above average with a modern voice. Being in the world of a fiery 17yr old who hitchhikes to Gunther, an older, wiser traveller who takes her to meet friends and who teaches her about life.

Inevitably, she falls in love and he is torn between attraction and being 'proper' - a character piece and nothing else, I can see this as a film (the kind where nothing really happens but you learn about human nature along the way).

Probably a brilliant book for older teens but a great read for adults alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant coming of age story 12 Sep 2011
By Serendipity Reviews TOP 500 REVIEWER
I was a bit wary to read this book at first when I realised how young the girl was in the book. I do struggle with the Lolita scenario and that is probably due to being a mum. The book is told from the point of view of the young girl, whose name we never discover. Right from the start it is obvious that she is extremely attracted to her older travelling companion, Gunther, and is the one doing all the chasing. She does practically throw herself at Gunther, who resists for a period of time until he can resist no longer. As the book progresses, you become aware that he feels guilty about how their friendship developed into a sexual relationship. He has a conscience and is uncomfortable with how much older he is than her and struggles to see anything right in the developments. He is a wanderer who does not want to be tied down and seems to find her affection stifling after awhile. I never once viewed him as a dirty old man and found his conduct to be quite gentlemanly at times. He obviously cared for her and by the end he went out of his way to put her on the right road to a better future. He didn't want her to settle for someone like him. Yet she was in the throws of her first love and with that, obsession can take place. She cannot see any of his faults, to her he is the love of her life and one she will never forget. Her love for him is all consuming and leads her into dangerous situations.

I found this to be a thoughtful read which made me reminisce my own experience of first love. The book is beautifully written and comes from the heart. This young girl is opening up her emotions for everyone to read. At times the words were sad and poignant, as she suffers under the full weight of her feelings.

The road trip takes her on a coming of age journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling 2 Sep 2011
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book when I read the description. It was a book I was compelled to read from start to finish. The Ice Age is one of those books you will either love or hate. One thing I didn't like was that you didn't ever find out the protagonist's name, but she was an interesting and loveable, if not very naive character.

The story is about a road trip, not sure how it started and we do not know anything prior to the road trip, other than few snip-its from the other characters in the book called Gunther's, past. So Gunther and a young almost eighteen year old go on a road trip. The stop at some hillbilly towns in America on their way to their destination. Sometimes staying with Gunther's friends sometimes in Motels. Gunther is a middle aged man and he and the girl get quite a few funny looks when on their travels. Not always is this father and daughter looks.

Everything is perfectly innocent, they are just friends, until the chemistry kicks in. Gunther knows it is wrong but the girl peruses it. Eventually Gunther puts a stop to their more than friendship relationship. But the girl is already head over heels for him. When Gunther goes off, she gets herself into some trouble with some teenage boys, this part I found very difficult to read. It wasn't too graphic but graphic enough.

I could not put this book down, nothing exciting or particularly interesting happened in the book, but I had to find out what happened next. Where they were going, who they going to meet, what was happening. It really was one of those I can't turn my head away scenario's.

The fact I am a mum I struggle with the Lolita scenario, although not a mum of a girl, I do have nieces, so I thought I would find this book hard to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Artsy, well written however unenjoyable
This is the kind of book I imagine artsy types reading and debating its content. It is written by someone with real talent, it really is a well written book with interesting... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Nursery Nurse Nic
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't for me!
It's hard to describe my feelings about this book. It's a very personal book, told from the point of view of a 17/18 year old teenage girl - we never discover her name. Read more
Published on 16 Dec 2011 by Kirsty at Book - Love - Bug
3.0 out of 5 stars New York City, wish I had your luck...
This short, road-trip novel held my attention pretty well, considering I often found myself sighing heavily as the very light layering of plot over situation left me cold. Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2011 by Eileen Shaw
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't really work
This book just lacks plot and pace. It lacks punch and meanders. There is no real story to speak of, and the characters come across as remote, naive, or both. Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2010 by Emanon
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read.
The characters individually are compelling and yet when looked on as a `couple' both beautiful and disturbing. Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2010 by Philip Hale
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quick and Enrapturing Read
I sped through this book in a morning. It is an easy and inviting read and I really enjoyed it.

The plot centres around the relationship between a young female hitcher... Read more
Published on 10 Aug 2010 by L. Hardt
4.0 out of 5 stars Coming of age on the road
This is the story of a road trip, and of a teenage girl both older and younger than her years who falls for her much older travelling companion and sets about trying to prove her... Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2010 by J. Dawson
4.0 out of 5 stars A meandering book elevated by great writing
Books like these live or die according to the quality of the writing. Very little happens here, there is one random encounter after another with little progression of the... Read more
Published on 24 July 2010 by Brian Hamilton
3.0 out of 5 stars Aimless
This is a fairly short and easy to read novel. An unnamed 17 year old narrator tells the story of travelling with an older man - Gunter. Read more
Published on 21 July 2010 by Lendrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise...compelling....deeply honest...original
It is hard to put this book down once started. It paints compelling and searingly honest portraits of characters and places in inner America with clarity and brevity, humor and... Read more
Published on 17 July 2010 by violetta
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