The Age, Nancy Lee’s electrifying debut novel, follows her celebrated story collection Dead Girls.
Set in Vancouver in 1984 as Soviet warships swarm the Atlantic, The Age tells the story of Gerry, a troubled teenager whose life is suddenly and strangely catapulted into adulthood.
Confronted by her mother’s newest relationship, confusion about her father’s abandonment, and anxieties about a looming nuclear incident, Gerry finds a kind of belonging with a group of misfits planning a subversive protest at the city’s upcoming peace march, but her fascination with their leader and her struggle with sexual identity create a rift between Gerry and her best friend, Ian. Bolstered by her grandfather, an eccentric news anchor in the throes of a bitter divorce, Gerry tries to put herself at the centre of the group’s violent plot. As the days leading up to the rally accelerate, Gerry finds herself escaping into a post-nuclear dystopia of her own creation. Her real life and fantasy life alternate until a collision of events and consequences forces her towards life or death decisions in both worlds.
At the heart of the novel is Gerry’s combative yet tender relationship with the older Ian, as she both yearns for and rejects his protectiveness towards her until it’s too late. Stubborn, tough, and unaware of her vulnerability until tragedy occurs, Gerry navigates a razor’s edge of emotion and events.
The Age is at once a heartbreaking journey through adolescent recklessness and desire and a portrait of a generation shaped by nuclear anxiety. Bold, original, told with piercing observation, mordant wit, and the same fearlessness that earned Dead Girls international acclaim, its arrival confirms Nancy Lee as one of Canadian literature’s most thrilling and compelling voices.
Author of the critically-acclaimed, Dead Girls, Nancy Lee teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia. She recently served as Writer-in-Residence for the city of Vincennes, France. She lives in Vancouver, BC, with her husband, the writer John Vigna.
“In The Age, Nancy Lee has created a world of contradictions for our times: thoughtful terrorists, naive cynics, children as parents, girls who dream as boys. In sharply poetic prose, Lee delineates a world of gorgeous horrors and eerie loves.”
—Annabel Lyon, author of The Sweet Girl
“Nancy Lee’s The Age is a stunning novel, written in exacting prose. Not a word is out of place in this tense, affecting and extremely relevant story. It gripped me from the first page to the last, and has stayed with me in the way that only a truly great book can do.”
—Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo