The Ice Storm

The Ice Storm

3.2 6
by Rick Moody
     
 

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The familiar suburban landscape of Updike, Cheever, and Irving gets dazzlingly reinvented in this audacious and funny novel. It's the weekend after Thanksgiving 1973 in the suburbs. American troops are leaving Vietnam. The Beatles are recording solo albums. Pet Rocks are on the drawing board. And the Hoods are skidding out of control. Benjamin Hood is reeling from…  See more details below

Overview

The familiar suburban landscape of Updike, Cheever, and Irving gets dazzlingly reinvented in this audacious and funny novel. It's the weekend after Thanksgiving 1973 in the suburbs. American troops are leaving Vietnam. The Beatles are recording solo albums. Pet Rocks are on the drawing board. And the Hoods are skidding out of control. Benjamin Hood is reeling from drink to drink, trying to bed his new mistress - who seems oddly uninterested - and trying not to think about his failures at the office. His wife, Elena, is reading self-help books and losing patience with her husband's clumsy lies. Their son, Paul, home for the holiday, escapes to the city to pursue an alluring rich girl from his prep school. And young Wendy Hood roams the neighborhood, innocently exploring the liquor cabinets and lingerie drawers of her friends' parents, looking for something new. Then an ice storm hits, the worst in a century, and things really get bad. The Ice Storm explores what it was like to be part of a family at a time when all of American culture seemed to be in prolonged adolescence, when the music was bad, the psychology was astral, everybody had shag carpet, and it seemed the best a family could do was to fall apart gracefully. By turns acerbic, hilarious, and lacerating, this is a novel with edge and heart, a chronicle to be savored by everyone who survived the '70s or the suburbs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Exhaustive detailing of early 1970s popular/consumer culture in suburban New England provides the context for this archetypal tale of the American nuclear family in decline. The affluent WASP community of New Canaan, Conn., is home to the Hood and Williams families, neighboring two-parent, two-child households built around increasingly dysfunctional marriages. Benjamin Hood, plagued by a loss of importance at work and a growing drinking problem, pursues an ill-fated affair with Janey Williams; his wife, Elena, feels herself losing what little regard she has left for him. Meanwhile, the adolescent children of both families experiment with sex, alcohol and drugs to find identities and to overcome a ponderous sense of alienation. A neighborhood "key party,'' at which couples exchange mates by drawing keys out of a bowl, brings the action to a chaotic climax as an apocalyptic winter storm culminates in physical tragedy to match the emotional damage in the small community. Pop-cultural references of the time, from Hush Puppies to the film Billy Jack, pervade the text. Unfortunately, Moody, winner of the Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award for his first novel, Garden State, tends to use these details in a more encyclopedic than evocative manner. His depiction of these families, however, is insightful and convincing, penetrating the thoughts and fears of each individual. And the central tragedy of his tale remains resonant, though his decrying of our cultural wasteland seems a bit stale. (May)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446671484
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
08/01/1995
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)

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Ice Storm 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first read of anything of Moody's, and as an author he strikes me as typically East Coast/high income/hoighty-toighty. While it is a great story and a few of the characters do really shine, the film does a much better job of connecting you with their story.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is disgusting from beginning to end. It provides good discussion if you can stomach it.