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Ice Cream Hardcover – December 10, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; First Edition edition (December 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802117333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802117335
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,329,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having made her reputation on these shores with literary gothic novels (A Spell of Winter, etc.), British writer Dunmore last year demonstrated her versatility with The Siege, a novel of startling realism and clarity, set in St. Petersburg (then known as Leningrad) during WWII. Her second short story collection (the first to be published here) further testifies to the wide range of her interests, imagination and narrative voice. The 17 stories are all quite short and have in common a remarkable ability to encapsulate character, situation and landscape in prose that shimmers with sensuous detail. The most chilling entry, "The Fag," is a variation on The Handmaid's Tale. In a repressive future society, a couple dares to defy the state's Genetic Code for conceiving children. "Emily's Ring" gathers horror as a young girl is doomed to a lifetime of guilt. Life in a small English village is illuminated in "Coosing," in which an abusive bully warns his wife not to apprise the intended victim of his bigotry. Other stories strike a lighter note. It's fun to watch the protagonist of the title story-a woman who's beautiful, thin and famous-succumb to the lure of comfort food. Other narratives portray food as a balm and benediction, or carry a hopeful message of connection, as in "My Polish Teacher's Tie." There's a touch of the surreal in "Mason's Mini-Break," which revolves around an encounter on the Yorkshire moors, and in a parking meter's message in "Be Vigilant, Rejoice, Eat Plenty." Dunmore's touch is light, but her stories slice through her readers' defenses like laser beams.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Just as her novels transport readers from heat and sensuality (Talking to the Dead), to a sense of impending menace (Your Blue-Eyed Boy), to piercing cold and gnawing starvation in wartime Leningrad (The Siege), so do these stories offer up a panoply of emotion, atmosphere, and character. Food-both the inability to eat (owing to illness, pregnancy, or anorexia) and the appreciation of or longing for it-also figures prominently. In the delicious title story, a famous model celebrating her birthday fantasizes about the heady perfumes, tastes, and textures of ice cream while her personal trainer exhorts her to stick to her brutal diet regime. In two chilling stories, Dunmore shows that she can move easily between time periods. In "Emily's Ring," set during the Victorian age, an elder sister charged with chaperoning her siblings on a swimming expedition for their health is attracted to a fellow bather and loses sight of one of the youngsters. In the futuristic "Leonardo, Michelangelo, Superstork," couples risk prison terms by purchasing genetically engineered embryos. Dunmore uses her formidable imagination and intelligence to create stories that provoke, unsettle, amuse, and glow. Highly recommended for public libraries.
Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Kingston, ON
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
You know the saying: you can't tell a book by its cover. As a reviewer, I don't take looks too seriously but I have to admit this is one cute package: a slim vanilla volume covered by a shiny dust jacket with candy-colored stripes and a picture of an (empty) ice-cream dish. It is almost edible.
In fact, the title story wasn't by any means my favorite --- it's a sort of glamorous throwaway about the suppression of appetite and its greedy return. But Dunmore, who is also a poet, writes so sensuously and precisely that she can make nearly anything matter. Best known as the author of elegant, pared-down psychological thrillers like TALKING TO THE DEAD and WITH YOUR CROOKED HEART, she has recently ventured beyond that genre with THE SIEGE, a novel set in the USSR during World War II. And now comes this collection of 18 stories --- none of which, as far as I can make out, have been published previously.
Stories aren't usually my thing, except when they're by Alice Munro or Katherine Mansfield. If they move me, I want more; I want to be immersed for days (if possible) in a world of somebody else's making. Still, there is something thrilling about the way a story can begin with a moment and then open up to an entire life --- but subtly and concisely, so you get only the details you need and not the entire family tree. Dunmore seems to know instinctively just how much to tell: not so much that the narrative loses pace and edge, not so little that it becomes annoyingly cryptic. And her talent is such that ICE CREAM, although uneven in quality (short-story collections inevitably are), lives up to its name. I wanted to devour it all at once and had to make myself take it in slowly, bite by voluptuous bite.
Dunmore's sense of language is extraordinary: lush, unhackneyed and rhythmic.
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Format: Hardcover
In this collection of short stories, Helen Dunmore focuses on quick, in-depth character sketches. The reader is exposed to a variety of scenarios, from the reality based--in the title story, an actress denies herself her favorite indulgencies in order to maintain her fame--to the unreal--a story of a horrific future where cloning is praised and natural births are punished. Many of the plots involve themes of serious illness and/or death, including "You Stayed Awake With Me" (a woman with terminal illness confronts the past), "The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife" (a doting husband reflects on loss), "Emily's Ring" (a young girl is burdened with the care of her many half-siblings), and "Lisette" (a promosing young family is doomed in WWII France). Many of the tales are set in the past; the time isn't always specified, but several stories have a turn of the century feel. One character, Ulli, appears in three different stories; at first, she seems to be a world-weary woman, but in the final story, we learn that she is a 16 year old girl. Of the 18 stories in the book, most are 10-12 pages in length, with the longest being 24 pages and the shortest being only 4 pages. Overall, this book is a short, engaging read that may leave you wondering what happens next.
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By Belinda on August 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
These stories are fine but not great. Many of them are cute. I enjoy literary fiction that is less plot-driven than the average best-seller, but very few of these stories had enough plot to satisfy me. I kept feeling disappointed at the end when nothing happened.

This was my first time to read Helen Dunmore. I'd definitely try one of her novels. Her writing is good enough that it intrigued me. I just couldn't get into any of these stories.
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