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Emamemi

Emamemi

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The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
The Hooligan's Return: A Memoir
Norman Manea, Angela Jianu
Ice - Anna Kavan Edit (104 days later): Despite my initial 3 star rating, I feel compelled to give this book another star. I must admit that Ice is still haunting me, as some of the powerful images it aroused are still vivid in my mind. Few books have this power over me.

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While I found Ice to be an interesting read, with moments of pure beauty and originality, in the end I was glad it was over, because it had failed to keep me under its spell for its entirety. While being a short book, to me it seemed awfully long, possibly because it is repetitive on the verge of becoming annoying. The magic that worked its charm in the beginning started to lose its power when the same things happened again and again, when I got tired of the uncertainty and wanted to tell the difference between what was real and what was not. And I do love tangled, fantastic tales (Mulholland Drive is one of my all-time favorite movies).

At first, I was mesmerized by the strange story of a man set out in search of a fragile girl with white hair, in a menacing landscape that is gradually overtaken by ice. His quest becomes an obsession and he follows her to some disaster-stricken places, but she always seems to sleep through his fingers. His search is impeded by a third character, the Ward, who seems to have taken possession of the girl, but also by the fact that the girl herself does not want to be found and rescued by the man.

Ice has no actual plot and no reliable storyteller. It's like falling through a series of weird dreams, not being able to tell the difference between reality and unconsciousness. The nameless narrator has some recurrent daydreams about the girl he is chasing, some of which left a powerful impression upon me, and for that alone it was worth reading this story.