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A solitary New Jersey librarian whose favorite book is a guide to suicide methods is struck by lightning in Alice Hoffman's superb novel, The Ice Queen. Orphaned at the age of eight after angrily wishing she would never see her mother again, our heroine found herself frozen emotionally: "I was the child who stomped her feet and made a single wish and in so doing ended the whole worldmy world, at any rate." Her brother Ned solved the pain of their mother's death by becoming a meteorologist: applying reason and logic to bad weather. Eventually, he invites our heroine to move down to Florida, where he teaches at a university. Here, while trying to swat a fly, she is struck by lightning (the resulting neurological damage includes an inability to see the color red). Orlon County turns out to receive two thirds of all the lightning strikes in Florida each year, and our heroine soon becomes drawn into the mysteries of lightning: the withering of trees and landscape near a strike, the medical traumas and odd new abilities of victims, the myths of renewal. Although a recluse, she becomes fascinated by a legendary local farmer nicknamed Lazarus Jones, said to have beaten death after a lightning strike: to have seen the other side and come back. The burning match to her cool reserve--her personal unguided tour through Hades--Lazarus will prove to be the talisman that restores her to girlhood innocence and possibility.
Hoffman's story advances with a feline economy of language and movement--not a word spared for the color of the sky, unless the color of the sky factors into the narrative. Among the authors who have played with the fairy tale's harsh mercies (e.g. Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter), Hoffman has the closest understanding of the primal fears that drive the genre, and why, perhaps, we never outgrow fairy stories, but only learn to substitute dull, wholesome qualities like personal initiative or good timing for the elements that raise the hairs on our neck and send us scrambling for the light switch. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Starred Review. "Be careful what you wish for. I know that for a fact. Wishes... burn your tongue the moment they're spoken and you can never take them back." Thus begins Hoffman's (Practical Magic; Here on Earth) stellar 18th novel about healing and transformation. As an eight-year-old, the unnamed narrator makes a terrible wish that comes true; remorseful for the next 30 years, she shuts down emotionally to become a self-proclaimed ice queen. Unlike her brother, Ned, who relies on logic, math and science to make sense of the world, the loner librarian fears the chaotic randomness of existence and is obsessed by death. Then lightning strikes, literally. In a flash, she's jolted out of her rut, noticing for the first time all that she's been taking for granted—even the color red, which after the strike she can no longer see: "How could I have been so stupid to ignore everything I'd had in my life? The color red alone was worth kingdoms." The novel turns sultry when the slowly melting ice queen seeks out reclusive Lazarus Jones, a fellow lightning survivor who came back to life after 40 minutes of death: "I wanted a man like that, one it was impossible to kill, who wouldn't flinch if you wished him dead." Blanketed in prose that has never been dreamier and gloriously vivid imagery, this life-affirming fable is ripe with Hoffman's trademark symbolism and magic, but with a steelier edge: "Every fairy tale had a bloody lining. Every one had teeth and claws." Both longtime fans and newcomers will relish it. Agent, Elaine Markson. 10-city author tour. (Apr. 4)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Here you learn the effects of being struck by lightning. However, that
is intensified when you have a troubled childhood. Enlightening.
I really enjoyed this book and it is my first Alice Hoffman read. The plot was quiet but heartfelt and there was enough going on to pique my interest and it was hard to put down. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Elise
I think this was more 4 1/2 stars then 5 but I felt generous. I did enjoy it though. It was told in a kind of poetic way I don't see very often and that made it beautiful. Read morePublished 2 months ago by becky
Normally, I love everything Hoffman writes, but this time, I was a bit disappointed. The plot revolves around the life of a woman after her mother dies. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JS
I want to read all her books. Her characters are memorable.Published 3 months ago by marianne blanchard
This book ripped my heart out then threw it against the wall only to pick it up, stomp and kick at it with steel toed boots. Read morePublished 4 months ago by YodaWay
If you too are slogging through this and think the author may be just a wee bit too enamored with her love for metaphor and symbols, and you think the main character is not... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rick R. Reed