Ice by Anna Kavan. Garden City. 1970. Doubleday. Introduction by Brian W. Aldiss. 176 pages. hardcover. Jacket by Alan Peckolick.


ice doubleday 1970



Earth was doomed. Slowly and inexorably the world was entering a new and cataclysmic ice age. Like a plodding giant, walls of ice were covering the earth leaving in its wake total annihilation of life. And this great natural horror had been caused by the world's most brilliant scientists—one too many nuclear bombs had been released and the balance of nature had been irreparably altered. And where ice and snow hadn't knifed their way into the land, ravaging and brutal wars were taking their toll. Through this surrealistic nightmare of ice and ultimate death, two men search for a strangely elusive girl. One, referred to only as the Warden, becomes a military power in his own right when the wars begin. A cruel, sadistic, merciless man he seems the total personification of Man's negative qualities. The narrator is the other man, and while he searches and nearly dies in pursuit of his quarry, he is never quite sure what it is that drives him to her. For those few times when he does locate her, she escapes his grasp explaining that she would rather die than be with either him or the Warden. A deceptively simple plot becomes a chilling tour de force in the capable hands of Miss Kavan as she comments on the human condition both today and tomorrow. And her thoughts are all the more harrowing because of the basic truths they reveal.



 Kavan Anna  Anna Kavan (10 April 1901-5 December 1968; born Helen Emily Woods) was a British novelist, short story writer and painter. Kavan was addicted to heroin for most of her adult life, a dependency which was generally undetected by her associates, and for which she made no apologies. She is popularly supposed to have died of a heroin overdose. In fact she died of heart failure, though she had attempted suicide several times during her life. An inveterate traveler, Kavan spent twenty-two months of World War II in New Zealand, and it was that country's proximity to the inhospitable frozen landscape of Antarctica that inspired the writing of ICE. This post-apocalyptic novel brought critical acclaim, earning Kavan the Brian Aldiss Science Fiction Book of the Year award in 1967, the year before Kavan's death. She died at her home in Kensington on 5 December 1968.






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