Synopses & Reviews
A New York Review Books Original
Ice-which recounted the escapades of a group of blond, blueeyed homicidal fanatics, the so-called Brotherhood of Light, who consider themselves the chosen people and the rest of humanity so many expendable “meat machines”-was a gritty, blistering tale of contemporary Moscow at its most unhinged and violent.
Written from the point of view of the sect, Ice now appears as the central panel of Vladimir Sorokin's enormously ambitious and riveting Ice Trilogy. Bro, the first section of Sorokin's chef d'oeuvre, relates the mysterious emergence of the brotherhood in the aftermath of a massive meteorite striking Siberia (a historical occurrence known as the Tungus event). The story of the group's development then unfolds at the leisurely pace and with the vivid detail of a great nineteenth-century Russian novel. 23,000 brings the trilogy to a wildly suspenseful close. All 23,000 members of the brotherhood have at last been brought together and they are preparing to stage the global destruction that will return them to their origins in pure light. Will their vision of innocence redeemed at last succeed?
A modern myth and a myth of the modern, The Ice Trilogy is a virtuosic performance by one of Russia's boldest writers. Sorokin demonstrates the raw power of fiction to make and unmake worlds, not to mention the threatening unrealities that underlieu our grasp on reality. Could it be, we come to wonder, that the Brotherhood of Light is, finally, nothing less than the image of humanity, of us?
"Sorokin's epic trilogy, originally published between 2002 and 2005, expands the enigma of the 1908 Tunguska meteorite blast into an impressive merger of metaphysical fantasia and gritty conspiracy thriller. Following the impact, select humans realize they are actually cosmic entities and form a group called the Brotherhood in hopes of finding the way back to the Light. Though the relatively weak first book, Bro, is crippled by an excess of overwrought prose, Ice is a spectacular achievement, vividly exposing the eventual corruption and brutality surrounding even the noblest of goals, while 23,000 moves effectively outward to encompass those who fight to uncover and defeat the Brotherhood in a tense race against time. Though very slow to develop and marred somewhat by irritating redundancies and areas where disbelief is difficult to suspend, the trilogy builds into both a gripping story and an impressive metaphorical window into the 20th-century Soviet experience, offering substantial rewards to the patient and thoughtful reader. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
A New York Review Books Original
In 1908, deep in Siberia, it fell to earth. THEIR ICE. A young man on a scientific expedition found it. It spoke to his heart, and his heart named him Bro. Bro felt the Ice. Bro knew its purpose. To bring together the 23,000 blond, blue-eyed Brothers and Sisters of the Light who were scattered on earth. To wake their sleeping hearts. To return to the Light. To destroy this world. And secretly, throughout the twentieth century and up to our own day, the Children of the Light have pursued their beloved goal.
Pulp fiction, science fiction, New Ageism, pornography, video-game mayhem, old-time Communist propaganda, and rampant commercial hype all collide, splinter, and splatter in Vladimir Sorokin’s virtuosic Ice Trilogy, a crazed joyride through modern times with the promise of a truly spectacular crash at the end. And the reader, as eager for the redemptive fix of a good story as the Children are for the Primordial Light, has no choice except to go along, caught up in a brilliant illusion from which only illusion escapes intact.
About the Author
was born in a small town outside of Moscow in 1955. He trained as an engineer at the Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas, but turned to art and writing, becoming a major presence in the Moscow underground of the 1980s. His work was banned in the Soviet Union, and his first novel, The Queue
, was published by the famed émigré dissident Andrei Sinyavsky in France in 1983. In 1992, Sorokin’s Collected Stories was
nominated for the Russian Booker Prize; in 1999, the publication of the controversial novel Blue Lard, wh
ich included a sex scene between clones of Stalin and Khrushchev, led to public demonstrations against the book and to demands that Sorokin be prosecuted as a pornographer; in 2001, he received the Andrei Biely Award for outstanding contributions to Russian literature. Sorokin is also the author of the screenplays for the movies Moscow, Th
, and of the libretto for Leonid Desyatnikov’s Rosenthal’s Children, th
e first new opera to be commissioned by the Bolshoi Theater since the 1970s. He has written numerous plays and short stories, and his work has been translated throughout the world. Among his most recent books are Sugar Kremlin
and Day of the Oprichnik.
He lives in
Jamey Gambrell is a writer on Russian art and culture. Her translations include Marina Tsvetaeva’s Earthly Signs: Moscow Diaries, 1917–1922; a volume of Aleksandr Rodchenko’s writings, Experiments for the Future; and Tatyana Tolstaya’s novel, The Slynx. Her translation of Vladimir Sorokin’s Day of the Oprichnik will be published in 2011.