Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ice by Vladimir Sorokin - review

The terse, clipped prose moves the story along at a fast pace. The first part of Ice follows three characters through their lives as they are awakened and after the awakening has taken place. They are plucked from all walks of life and economic backgrounds. Not only do we get to witness first hand the at times brutal awakenings but we also get a nice cross section of Russian life. The second part of the novel threats us to a lengthy first person account of how one member of this group was awakened. The Nazi’s took her from her village as a young teenager. Upon arrival in Germany she was kept aside at a camp because of her physical features then awakened. Her heart proves to be older then her body and she quickly become part of the upper echelon of the secret group. Her personal history will act as a history lesson of the group for not only us but also the three recently awakened characters from the first part. We will learn about its origins and its relationship with the Tunguska event, its methods and its ultimate goals.

From the moment we witness the first awakening in the opening moments, and especially as we learn more about them, we are forced to wonder if they are a menacing group or are they our superiors. Will their success be a benevolent act for a humanity that was never supposed to be? Will the destruction of the world, as we know it be a mercy killing for a patient that has been dead for a long time, even if they just didn’t know it? Will the final act be one of selfless love or ultimate selfishness? These are not easy questions to ask and no clear answers are provided.

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