Ice is apparently considered a classic ― it says so right on the cover, but, I mean, you would expect a Penguin to think a book about ice is a classic* ― but I honestly can’t remember where I heard of it or how it ended up on my reader. There was a profile of Anna Kavan in The New Yorker a few years ago, though, so that might explain it.
The girl was petrified, she did nothing at all. I did nothing either, simply stood watching. It was unlike me. But he was a man who had entered with a revolver for a specific purpose, and could not be prevented from carrying it out. I wondered if he would shoot us both, and if so which first, or if only one of us, which one. Such points were of interest to me.Anna Kavan, Ice
Yes, those points would probably be of interest to anyone in that situation …
Now, Ice is a disaster novel, sort of; I mean, there are these giant walls of ice moving from the poles towards the equator in the aftermath of some sort of technological disaster or military strike or techno-military disaster strike (it’s not exactly clear) and they are grinding everything in their path** to rubble. But on the other hand it’s not really a disaster novel at all, because the main character, if you want to call him that, is mostly concerned with tracking down a silver-haired girl of his acquaintance, who may or may not be being held prisoner by somebody who may or may not be some manner of warlord or dictator or the ruler of a small country. This is also not really clear. If you’re starting to get the impression that nothing in this novel is really clear, you’re pretty much right on track. This is because the novel itself doesn’t read like a novel, it reads like the transcript of somebody’s weird dream—not unlike my own weird dreams, in fact, back when I used to have them, before The Event.
Meanwhile, slow progress continues to be made on Blue Roses! I actually recently made a couple of fairly major plot decisions, which means the section I’m working on is awash in spoilers. But this bit is relatively spoiler-free:
Now that the trees were all connected at the tops—there were five or six of them; Jennifer had lost track—the gardener was busily weaving their thin branches together. The whole thing seemed to have become much leafier than it should have been, and was taking on the appearance of a nearly solid dome, with a knotted archway right in front of them. The stick man, watching, clapped his spindly hands together, as if he were a homeowner excited at the upcoming reveal of the results of a big remodeling project.
Abigail paced a few steps one way, then the other, then returned to the archway. “Is this going to be permanent?”
“Permanence is such an elusive quality,” the gardener said, her voice wistful, almost.
“What I mean is, will it still be here when we open tomorrow? Are customers going to wander into it and be struck down with visions or transported to fairyland?”
“Fairyland.” The gardener would’ve snorted, if snorting hadn’t been beneath her. “No, it is not going to transport your customers to fairyland. What do you take me for? You are asking the wrong questions.”
“What’s the right question, then?”
“The right question,” the gardener said, “is, will there be a tomorrow?”James V. Viscosi, Blue Roses
** I.E., everything.