Ice by Anna Kavan


Jill's take on Ice by Anna Kavan

One of the reasons we bought this book was because of the cover. Yes, we did judge the book by its cover. I mean look at it. It's perfect. I loved the element of a fashion illustration combined with a 1960's modernist feel all wrapped up in cold colors. How could I not be drawn into it? Then I read the author's story which stated that she had been drawn into heroine as a way to improve her tennis game. WTF? As a former tennis player myself, I can honestly say, heroine never came up as a game improver. But all that aside, Ice also was interesting because it was a continuation of our foray into dystopian fiction. 

I found this book confusing. I wasn't sure sometimes if the scenes being described were real, hallucinations, dreams or what. I also didn't understand the point of the main character's obsession with this woman who clearly doesn't wish to have him around. It was masochistic how he would follow her to only then have thoughts of harming her. And she, herself, was one of the most pathetic female characters I've ever come across. She was bullied by every man she was with and had no real structure to her. Her physical description called to mind a bleached bird with hair like the Nelson brothers. 

I actually hated these characters, but loved the creepy destructive descriptions of the ice that was slowly taking over the world. The weather became an obsession for people and areas that otherwise were peaceful were suddenly thrown into war as the ice advanced on their world and scarcity sunk in. The ice was menacing these lands. You could feel the cold come over a place and knew nothing would survive.

I don't know that I would say I recommend Ice to anyone. It's a short read and an interesting idea and way to see global warming, but I don't know. Maybe with some reluctance I say, spend a few days of your life reading through this book. And let me know what you think of the people. I would love to know what you think about them.

Zac's take on Ice by Anna Kavan

What to say about this novel?

It’s short and easy to ready but confusing as hell. Again we find ourselves drawn to these dystopian novels where there is some impending doom. In this case it’s a slowly advancing glacier that sometimes doesn’t move so slowly. The descriptions of this global catastrophe are impressive. It’s hard to write about the cold, I would imagine, but Anna K does it really well. There are loud cracks and booms as giant sections of the glacier fall off and snow drifts that crop up out of nothing to overwhelm entire countries.  Everything is chaos.  There are two men and the woman they fight over. She is a captive of one of the men, and the other man travels the globe chasing and fighting his way to her. She is treated horribly but he is obsessed.

But I’m making sense of this novel, when it really makes no sense. The novel switches from place to place and scene to scene. The girl dies multiple times and he finds and loses her multiple times. Sometimes he is a soldier, other times a spy, but always there is this relentless pursuit of the girl and her captive and narrow escapes and clashes with rebels and governments and the girl’s captor. It’s filled with action but it’s not linear. It feels like the author is totally psychotic or manic-depressive. Over time the captor and the liberator begin to merge as if they are twins.

The author had an interesting life, from what I remember. I think her tennis coach gave her morphine or some other additive opiate in order to improve her game. She came from a rich family and wrote under different names and eventually killed herself. The life seems way more fascinating and worth looking into. That may be a better use of time than reading the novel, if you ask me.