[[ Kindle ]] ☚ The Ice Storm ↮ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free
The American literati bristled last year when one of the Nobel Prize bigwigs said the country s writers were too entangled with their own mass culture to get close to a new Nobel in Literature I don t think that s entirely true, but after reading The Ice Storm I have to say I suspect the Swedish bigwig was reading Rick Moody Not that I didn t like the book But having been alive and fully conscious in the 1970 s, I knew the dozens of TV shows and pop songs Moody referenced To be honest, the 70 s have always struck me as somewhat grotesque, and now I m sure I also dislike the state of Connecticut Yes, unhappy marriages and adolescent anxiety are universals, but would you be able to enjoy this book if you weren t of a certain age, and accidentally American I d be interested to know I guess you could accuse Don DeLillo s White Noise of the same kind of thing, but its sinister appeal is wider and it is less anchored to American icons, in my opinion Considering the number of hard ons I had to read to the end in The Ice Storm, I was glad I was born a girl and not a boy Anyway, the writing is good, the story has its hooks and the last 85 pages or so of this book were just terrific Does that make it worth it Yes, though I could imagine a lot of non North Americans getting frustrated by the cultural allusions.My step mother tells me to try Purple America, and I m going to think about that.
[[ Kindle ]] ☞ The Ice Storm ↽ The Year Is As A Freak Winter Storm Bears Down On An Exclusive, Affluent Suburb In Connecticut, Cars Skid Out Of Control, Men And Women Swap Partners, And Their Children Experiment With Sex, Drugs, And Even Suicide Here Two Families, The Hoods And The Williamses, Come Face To Face With The Seething Emotions Behind The Well Clipped Lawns Of Their Lives In A Novel Widely Hailed As A Funny, Acerbic, And Moving Hymn To A Dazed And Confused Era Of American Life Fucking family Feeble and forlorn and floundering and foolish and frustrating and functional and sad, sad Fucking family Fiend or foe.Likely Ang Lee s film remains superior The struggle is apparent here One trying to rationalize one s upbringing is always a fool s errand Moody appears to halt before the warmth He s perhaps too keen to be clinical. An exuberant and dark novel that makes you both laugh and hold your stomach at the detailed and nauseating portrayals of the shame of youth and family No one is safe in this book, and no one is good Everything is tinged with either a rot that is unredeemable or a rot that is still in its seedling state The children will be as rotten as the parents, and the parents seem beyond hope The culture of the town is hopeless and the only thing that makes it at all uplifting is the sense that this era is passed, and that these experiences are not your own Something about the father with the mouth full of canker sores says it all his rot is at once personal and biological, a matter of destiny.So it is not, in many ways, a pleasant book to read But it is funny, and the sentences are overwritten in a way that I very much enjoy There is an excess of excess in the prose, which is a rare thing in this era of the pretense of minimalism He is as exuberant about comics and history and television and the styles of the seventies as he is about shame, and these details help to defray the darkness of the plot and the characters Did I enjoy it I read it very quickly I think I enjoyed it But it might not have made me a happier person in general is literature supposed to do that On the outset, Rick Moody s The Ice Storm appears to be a Generation X era relic about what it was like to grow up in the 1970 s Any serious reader has probably read at least one of these type of stories before stories chock full of ironic kitsch and facile observations on how screwed up the Me generation were At the beginning of the novel, Moody lives up to that description, as he sloshes the kitsch with a ladle, with lists of brand names, pop songs, and other period icons so that you can be sure that he really remembers 1973 However, this is not a nostalgia trip What starts as a dark comedy deepens into suburban tragedy All of the characters are in various states of malaise, and Moody resists caricature They are damaged human beings, full of flaws and deceptions The Hood family live in a WASP suburban enclave called New Canaan, which is beautiful on the surface, but is seething underneath with cultural upheaval The Watergate scandal is on the television every night, and the sexual revolution is creeping into the suburbs Patriarch Ben Hood is self absorbed in his own depression, and having an affair with a neighbor Wife and mother Elena Hood is equally self absorbed, and stews in her own self loathing Their daughter, Wendy, throws herself into sexual experimentation and drugs to escape the stultifying atmosphere, and son Paul takes refuge reading comic books Life goes on the same rut, but a storm is on the horizon, a beautiful but deadly ice storm that forces everyone together, and all of his or her deceptions trigger a familial meltdown.Moody deftly orchestrates these deceptions, as the characters alternately ignore, circle, and confront each other Adding to the orchestrations is the narration from four different perspectives, each of them a member of the two families affected by Ben s affair, who are promoting their own opinion and views of the ensuing events that arise throughout the novel Three of the Hoods run away from their malaise by going to bed with members of the family next door, then get caught and try to deny it, while accusing the others Most of these encounters are darkly funny, but the eventual plot twists change the tone from humorous to dead serious The storm is always in the horizon, but once it arrives to New Canaan, the emotional wounds the characters have hidden come boiling to the surface, and before the night is over, somebody s child dies The cultural references also take on a much heavier resonance as the mood darkens One of the most poignant uses is when Wendy turns up A Charlie Brown Christmas on the television to drown out the noise of her parents arguing The mix of pop culture and emotional violence brings home the general atmosphere of a society disillusioned by Nixon, and turned on by the sexual revolution.By the end, Moody s tone has turned alternately mournful and stern The adults are three dimensional, and all too human, but Moody does not let them off the hook for their bad behavior The characters are adrift without a moral compass as the Watergate scandal drones on in the background However, Moody still makes the characters sympathetic, precisely because they are all too human He manages to frequently evoke both tones in his prose, as in the following you could pay Arthur Janov to teach you to scream learn a prayer or a mantra but that was the best you could probably do You were stuck That sentence probably sums up Moody s 70 s experience, and overall, The Ice Storm is a striking generational flipside to the works of Cheever and Updike. 3.5 stars The Ice Storm was, oftentimes, an incredibly difficult read Not in terms of structure or writing style Moody s writing was often sharp intake of breath beautiful The sheer, white drapes in the guest room were limp as the bangs of a sad schoolgirl 5 or Once his dreams had been songs He d been a balladeer of promise and opportunity 6 but in the affect it had on me, the reader Many of the scenes in the book were discomfiting, disturbing, heavily focused on sex acts, and the workings of the male genitalia which, come to think of it, makes a great deal of sense by book s end, when the identity of the narrator is revealed The characters in this book are fucked up and they, in their small way and in the course of one Thanksgiving weekend mirror the fucked up ness of 1970s Americaits political climate and the shortcomings of the promised suburban American Dream.The narrator takes breaks in the story to interject rambling lists of 1970s goings on and trends At first, I thought this was mildly annoying, like I GET IT, it s 1973, you don t have to tell me about the shag carpeting and the rainbow toe socks and the bottle of Summer s Eve inconspicuously shelved in the bathroom But then I got it the narrator wasn t beating a 1970s kitsch horse over the head, but rather showing how the characters in The Ice Storm have surrounded themselves with essentially meaningless stuff Stuff that doesn t provide an answer to any of life s big questions or fulfill deep and, as is often the case with these characters, unacknowledged or, if acknowledged, disparaged need.The ice storm is the perfect ruse, the perfect metaphor The storm and with it the fate of these characters moves towards an inevitable, terrible end Like the ice encased trees and power lines, like the abandoned cars, these characters are stuck And, as the narrator so artfully implies, they always will be History s surveillance was subtle and enduring and its circular shape caught the Hoods, the Nixons, and everyone else You could pay Arthur Janov to teach you to scream about history, or you could learn prayer, or a mantra, or you could write your life down and hope to make peace with it, write it down, or paint it, or turn it into improvisational theater, but that was the best you could probably do You were stuck 272 273 Video review Ice Storm is a tirade on how terrible your life can be when you are WASP and rich and priviledged It s well written and flows like a wonder, but it is one of those books in which nothing really happens even when people die and everyone is a complete asshole, and if you are looking for one of those, by all means read Franzen s 21st century novels they are, at least, quite dope or John Updike s Rabbit novels before turning to this one.The condescending way in which this book deals with comic books also felt less than super to me, but other people read that quite differently. Let s play Literary Key Party Here s how it goes everyone plays an author, and then you pick another author s keys and you have to write your story in their style For example, if I m John Fowles and I end up with Jane Austen s keys, I might sayIt is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a young lady to lock in his basement.Here are some names to get you started Ladies Jane AustenFlannery O ConnorDorothy ParkerAyn RandCarolyn KeeneVirginia WoolfGentlemenHenry MillerCharles DickensJack KerouacVlad NabokovDashiell HammettThomas PynchonNot that you have to divvy it up by ladies and gentlemen, of course You do your thing It s the laziest way to divide into two groups but, likeheteronormativity is wack, kids Which, honestly, this is sortof the problem with key parties in general In our immediate circle is one gay couple and they re always so bored The rest of us are fine with it you have no idea how attractive they both are, it s ridiculous but that doesn t really help them much.Anyway, so have fun with that game at your next weird sex party it will probably make it fun than this book, in which not a lot happens For a book entirely about sex, there s not a lot of sex here There s a lot of almost sex People imagine doing perverse things to each other they try to do them but very little gets accomplished Which, as Cecily points out below, is valid especially for the adolescent characters, because I can clearly remember that my ratio of imagined to real sex acts in adolescence was about infinity to one but the thing is that I had sort of the same feeling about the book It seems to take itself seriously, but I m not sure it really added up to much It s totally possible to write a book in which not much happens see Remains of the Day, in which Nothing happens is the actual plot, or for that matter Hamlet Those are both brilliant works But I don t feel like Moody really pulls it off I finished it and I was likeso I saw the Ang Lee adaptation of this book a few years back and so was curious about Moody s novel While the movie was stylized and Twin Peak ish, it was a tad boring The novel, on the other hand, was a page turner.Set during a single 24 hour period in New Canaan Connecticut, 1973, Moody gives us an accurate lay of the land with all the products, projects, and preoccupations of the beginning of Watergate and the end of Viet Nam I m the same age as two of the teens in the book, Wendy and Sandy, and can say with authority that Moody captures the era perfectly.One aspect that startled me a bit was the recollection of life before the microchip and its progeny That time before smartphones, social media, and the long tail economics of the internet In fact, the only real technology in the home was the telephone, the television, and the stereo vinyl, 8 track, and reel to reel for the audiophiles All telephones were the property of ATT Lacking answering machines, telephones rang and rang in empty homes until the caller eventually hung up, not knowing the whereabouts of the callee and not being able to do anything about it until the person surfaced again from however far away they were from the phone There is something fundamentally different about a world where communication is uncertain and subject to chance In this current era, it s nearly impossible to hide, and few, if any, try to avoid the flow of information, connected as they are to their various feeds from email, facebook, and twitter In 1973, there were no tweets from Kanye that needed attending to, and the world was a mysterious, random, and possibly authentic place an analog world Moody gives us this world wrapped up in the metaphoric coating of an ice storm.Highly recommended I m not sure what I think about this book On one hand, Moody has a spellbinding quality about his writing His voice is quite unique, and from a purely linquistic and literary perspective I found the book quite appealing Also, I m always attracted to writers who write about real, unattractive, unwholesome, unheroic people, and I usually enjoy works that are trying to expose the dark underbelly of society On the other hand the story seems, I don t know, contrived maybe I appreciate his commentary on what modern American life has done to the family, and how completely at odds the two are I get the thesis on the general sense of disappointment that so many people live in I understand how marriages are being pulled apart by a culture in which most of your value as a human being is defined by your occupation outside the home I remember how hard puberty was, with all the awkwardness and self doubt, and horniness, and self loathing, and all of that I understand that our culture is over sexed I just am not sure the story here is big enough to hold all of Moody s ideas None of the characters ever completely feel real to me They give it their best college try, but they just can t quite realize this grand commentary Moody is going for Probably because they re spending so much of their time thinking about sex All of them Every person in the book is consumed with sex At first it was provocative, and then it was tragic, and then it just got Dull It was a good try, and it wasn t a bad read, but the tragic beauty Moody was going for got lost in the details.