The Ice House: Book summary and reviews of The Ice House by Laura Lee Smith

The Ice House

by Laura Lee Smith

The Ice House by Laura Lee Smith X
The Ice House by Laura Lee Smith
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Dec 5, 2017
    448 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From a writer who's been praised for her "intelligence, heart, wit" (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls), The Ice House follows the beleaguered MacKinnons as they weather the possible loss of the family business, a serious medical diagnosis, and the slings and arrows of familial discord.

Johnny MacKinnon might be on the verge of losing it all. The ice factory he married into, which he's run for decades, is facing devastating OSHA fines following a mysterious accident and may have to close. The only hope for Johnny's livelihood is that someone in the community saw something, but no one seems to be coming forward. He hasn't spoken to his son Corran back in Scotland since Corran's heroin addiction finally drove Johnny to the breaking point. And now, after a collapse on the factory floor, it appears Johnny may have a brain tumor. Johnny's been ordered to take it easy, but in some ways, he thinks, what's left to lose? This may be his last chance to bridge the gap with Corran - and to have any sort of relationship with the baby granddaughter he's never met.

Witty and heartbreaking by turns, The Ice House is a vibrant portrait of multifaceted, exquisitely human characters that readers will not soon forget. It firmly establishes Laura Lee Smith as a gifted voice in American fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Peppering the story with affecting interludes that trace the evolution of Johnny and Corran's relationship, Smith (Heart of Palm) majestically captures the urgency of reconnecting with a loved one when time seems to be quickly slipping away." - Publishers Weekly

"Insight, good humor, and generous hearts abound in this readable but baggy saga of starting afresh, which opens with originality but closes with an excess of tidily ticked boxes." - Kirkus

"Smith's (Heart of Palm) gift for irresistibly charming, flawed characters is once again in evidence in this tale of good people and strong marriages tested by life's cruel roadblocks, human nature, and the limits of love." - Library Journal

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More Information

Laura Lee Smith is the author of the novel Heart of Palm. Her short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories; New Stories from the South: The Year's Best; New England Review; and other journals. She lives in Florida.

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