This almost slipped by me…
Ice by Vladimir Sorokin came out quietly without much media fanfare.
In this, his first English-language debut, postmodernist (and often controversial) Sorokin gives us a frighteningly engaging page-turner. Critics are calling it “ a gritty dispatch from the front lines of the contemporary world, a gnostic fairy tale, a hard-boiled parable, a New Age parody, a bitingly funny fantasy in the great Russian tradition…”
Blond, blue-eyed contemporary Muscovites are being kidnapped, driven to remote areas and bashed in the chest with hammers made of ice. It appears the victims are being "cracked" by their assailants, who want to free their hearts to "speak”.
Suspense builds with the incrementally telling of the story from the perspectives of three "heart-speakers” and Khram, their spiritual leader who was herself "hammered" by a German S.S. officer in a slave labor camp during WWII.
Ice ”…succeeds brilliantly as both a thriller and a cautionary tale about totalitarianism, bigotry, elitism, and fundamentalism". (Library Journal).
Click here for a NYRB review of Ice, and a biography on Sorokin.