Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Firing Ice

I've just given up on trying to read the novel Ice by Russian author Vladimir Sorokin, primarily because the first hundred pages have not managed to make me care about the characters, but also because I'm getting tired of a particular syntactic tic:

A dark blue Lincoln Navigator drove into the building. Stopped....Gorbovets leaned on the gates. Pulled. The steel sections aligned. Clanged. He slid the bolt shut. Spat. Walked to the car.

That's just a sample from the first page of the book, and while those solitary-verb fragments emphasize the staccato nature of the actions here, the pattern is repeated over and over in the book, all those solitary verbs pelting my eyeballs like sleet pellets in an ice storm. Sorokin's style is edgy and hip, often self-consciously so; like a small child who has just learned to ride a tricycle, the sentences clatter past while yelling "Look at me! Look at me!" After a while, it just gets tiresome.

So I give up. Unless someone can provide a compelling reason for me to keep reading, Ice is going directly into the giveaway pile. But who would want it? Here's an offer: make a case for the book in the comments to this post and I'll mail the novel, free of charge, to whoever is most convincing.

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