“I know, ain’t evils in no life nor cruelties in no red hell can change the vally heart of Ice Cream Star.”
Sandra Newman’s novel The Country Of Ice Cream Star is going to cause some fights, cause some clamour among the finger-wagging ranks of the sensitive literati. People who care about books (and who care about seeming to care about books) are going to go nine kinds of bonkers over this thing because it presses just about every single big red button there is.
Is it a book about black people and their experiences written by a white lady? Yep. Is there rape and murder? There sure is. Slavery? White colonialism? Religious fundamentalism? Check, check and double-check. Is it an apocalypse story with a plague that has conveniently wiped out 80% of the population of the American Northeast (at least), leaving none behind but several generations of black children who all die before their 20th birthdays like some kind of freaked-up mashup of Logan’s Run and that old Star Trek episode, “Miri?” Hell yes, it is.