A dazzling and haunting vision of the end of the world, Ice is a masterpiece of literary science fiction now in a new 50th anniversary edition with a foreword by Jonathan Lethem
"One might become convinced that Kavan had seen the future . . . A half century after its first appearance, Kavan’s fever dream of a novel is beginning to seem all too real." -The New Yorker
In a frozen, apocalyptic landscape, destruction abounds: great walls of ice overrun the world and secretive governments vie for control. Against this surreal, yet eerily familiar broken world, an unnamed narrator embarks on a hallucinatory quest for a strange and elusive “glass-girl” with silver hair. He crosses icy seas and frozen plains, searching ruined towns and ransacked rooms, all to free her from the grips of a tyrant known only as the warden and save her before the ice closes all around. A novel unlike any other, Ice is at once a dystopian adventure shattering the conventions of science fiction, a prescient warning of climate change and totalitarianism, a feminist exploration of violence and trauma, a Kafkaesque literary dreamscape, and a brilliant allegory for its author’s struggles with addiction—all crystallized in prose glittering as the piling snow.
Kavan’s 1967 novel has built a reputation as an extraordinary and innovative work of literature, garnering acclaim from China Miéville, Patti Smith, J. G. Ballard, Anaïs Nin, and Doris Lessing, among others. With echoes of dystopian classics like Ursula Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, and J. G. Ballard’s High Rise, Ice is a necessary and unforgettable addition to the canon of science fiction classics.
"One of the most mysterious of modern writers, Anna Kavan created a uniquely fascinating fictional world. Few contemporary novelists could match the intensity of her vision." —J.G. Ballard
“There is nothing else like it.” —Doris Lessing
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Fog and ice and torrential rain dominate this surrealistic novel, blanketing an icicle-like woman from the man who cannot clear his eyes of her image. Occasionally he glimpses her skeleton, fossilized in snow. Twice he stumbles up a mountain to a house where she is guarded by the dictator at whose side she rides in state, at whose headquarters she lives in a bare, padded room, waiting to be assaulted. The obsessed suitor pursues her over a rainswept ocean to a country menaced by nuclear war and an encroaching glacier. Later, he finds her on a beach whose dunes have become ice castles, where the waves are petrified stalagmites. They flee in a car that is now their world, deriving warmth and peace from each other. Only at the end does it become clear that both are aspects of the same self, and that the agony, the blinding light, the uphill climb, the burly guards and the frantic, headlong, aimless hunt are fragments of a drugged nightmare. This last of British writer Kavan's books to be published in her lifetime is lashed with urgency and pulsates with an atmosphere of dread. Foreign rights: Nat Sobel. October
dream logic and radical feelings of being clean