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The Year of Ice: A Novel

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Brian Malloy

A gay high school senior struggles to cope with his father's irresponsibility in Malloy's poignant, quietly effective debut, set in Minneapolis in the late '70s. From the outside looking in, protagonist Kevin Doyle seems like a normal, party-happy … see full wiki

Author: Brian Malloy
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
1 review about The Year of Ice: A Novel

The Consequences of Deception

  • Jan 19, 2009
  • by
Malloy, Brian. "The Year of Ice: A Novel", St. Martin's Griffin, 2003.

The Consequences of Deception

Amos Lassen

Brian Malloy says that the reason he wrote "The Year of Ice" was "to examine what happens to a family when the fiercest loyalties are not to each other, but to one's own secrets". It's a brave idea and something most of us have lived with during the coming-out process.
Set in Minneapolis in 1978, Kevin Doyle, our hero, struggles to cope with his father's responsibility. We see Kevin, at first, as a "normal" and happy seventeen year old but we soon learn of his troubled family life and that he has a crush on one of his best male friends. Kevin's father, Pat, is a 40 year old widower who has many romantic interests. When Kevin learns that his mother's death in an accident may have been caused in part by Pat's infidelity, he becomes furious and he becomes ever angrier when he learns that the woman that his father was cheating with is pregnant by Pat. Pat marries the woman but only after an affair first.
Kevin's senior year of high school and freshman year at college were not the best for him. Kevin is in love with Jon Thompson who is unaware of that. However, the gay aspect of the novel is not the major issue; what is the troubled father/son relationship which is heightened since Kevin's mother was a suicide victim because of his father. A lot happens here with both the parent/son relationship and the gay coming-out story going on at the same time.
We do see Kevin as a tall and handsome average student who knows he is gay. He is smarter than he realizes and extremely self-possessed. He goes through a really rough period and he deals with things as best he can. Malloy's writing is beautifully filled with details and he writes with a dark brilliance. The novel is sensitive and this is because we read the book in Kevin's voice. This allows for the reader to identify with the hero as well as to allow us to see what it is to live in a world that we do not understand.

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