Vladmir Sorokin - Ice

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Vladmir Sorokin - Ice

Russia’s preeminent postmodernist, chilled, with a twist.

A Moscow warehouse: Concrete ?oor. Industrial materials. Cigarette butts. Lifeless vermin. Welcome to Vladimir Sorokin’s ICE, a thriller darkened by the author’s seemingly boundless malice.

Russian readers know Sorokin, like Cormac McCarthy, can be cruel to his characters, and in ICE he holds nothing back. A clandestine religious sect scours Moscow’s seedy underground for recruits—addicts, prostitutes and the like—to “awaken.” Their road to salvation begins with violent hammer strikes to the chest, and their suffering deepens until Sorokin unexpectedly introduces one of the most endearing narrators literature has enjoyed (or perhaps endured) in some time. The book strays here into remembrances of this character and her evangelistic powers—exerted inside the book and, weirdly, outside it.

Critics place Sorokin in the company of other prominent, international postmodern writers—like Murakami and Houellebecq—and he belongs there, albeit on his own shelf. His storytelling is lithe, but deceptive. Each twist corkscrews; each turn regularly halts at a sudden, cerebral abyss.

ICE is the rare novel that tiptoes between the ?ctional world and the reader’s, as answers arising from the gloom succumb to yet another unforeseen question. In ICE, no one is safe from Sorokin’s brilliantly chilling pen—no character, and certainly no reader.