From a writer who’s been praised for her “intelligence, heart, wit” (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author ofEmpire 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.
Laura Lee Smith is the author of the novelHeart of Palm. Her short fiction has appeared inBest American Short Stories;New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best;New England Review; and other journals. She lives in Florida.
Praise forThe Ice House:
“Majestically captures the urgency of reconnecting with a loved one when time seems to be quickly slipping away.”—Publishers Weekly
“While this is a beautiful character-driven novel, the settings are also vividly realized, from the run-down neighborhood of Jacksonville that houses the factory to the remote town in the Scottish Highlands.”—Indie Picks Magazine
“Smith weaves their stories expertly, moving from Jacksonville to Scotland and back, from another disaster to a laugh-out-loud moment. Her tenderness toward her characters and subtle understanding of class differences in American society are reminiscent of such novelists as Richard Russo and Jennifer Egan, but this heartbreaking, heartwarming novel is an original.”—Tampa Bay Times
“Laura Lee Smith has given us a thought-provoking multinational tale…The Ice House will challenge your crime solving skills and teach you lots about the Scottish Highlands. The exciting ending has a chilly twist you won’t expect.”—The St. Augustine Record
“The kind of novel that makes you sad when it's over because you know you won't be able to be in that world any longer.”—Advance Reading Copy
“Smith is a devil with the details and her complicated and fascinating portrayal of this family and our city will have you flipping the pages and cheering for more.”—Jacksonville.com
“The characters in this novel are genuine; they feel like a real family. All of the characters are believable and have their own distinctive voice . . . Although the plot is intriguing, it is the humanity of the characters that keeps you reading.”—eMissourian.com
“The Ice House is a tour de force that sweeps readers into a symphony of powerfully drawn characters, all of whom have been wounded in ways that both cripple and embolden them. This novel is an intercontinental family saga and an exploration of blue-collar life, but at its core it’s a very good novel that asks us to consider the lengths we’ll go to in order to save the things that matter most: a company, a loved one, ourselves.”—Wiley Cash, author ofThe Last Ballad andA Land More Kind Than Home
“The Ice House offers all the pleasures of the novel—robust characters we worry about and root for, a story that deepens and intrigues, language that charms and surprises, and even some rare and welcome humor. It does all this in a setting unusual to a novel--the world of work, in this case, a family ice making business in Florida. How does Laura Lee Smith keep that small, cold world so large and ardent hearted?The Ice House is a marvel of a novel.”—Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi and author ofHeating & Cooling
Praise forHeart of Palm:
“Intelligence, heart, wit . . . Laura Lee Smith has all the tools, andHeart of Palm is a very impressive first novel.”—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author ofEmpire Falls
“Incandescent.”—O, the Oprah Magazine
“[A] fine, funny first novel . . . A heaping dose of Southern soul with a whole lot of chutzpah thrown in.”—Atlanta Journal Constitution
“A knockout . . . It reminded me often of the novels of Richard Russo . . . Smith . . . creates a vivid sense of place . . . A fine, bittersweet taste of the Sunshine State.”—Tampa Bay Times
“I could feel the heat, the glare off the Intracoastal. Like a sandspur,Heart of Palm sticks with you, drawing blood.”—Rita Mae Brown, author ofSouthern Discomfort andRubyfruit Jungle
“A spirited Southern family saga . . . Fans of Fannie Flagg will enjoy this novel.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Heart of Palm . . . will leave you crying, laughing, and longing for a bygone era.”—Florida Travel + Life
“A big, engrossing and very Southern look at a family in turmoil,Heart of Palm is made to be read on a veranda during the steamy summer months.”—Arizona Republic
“Smith’s debut novel exudes authenticity . . . She turns a phrase with wit . . . Writ[ten] with agility and empathy.”—Publishers Weekly
“Smith is a brilliant writer, andHeart of Palm brims with lush vitality, loss, and desire.”—Julianna Baggott, author ofPure andThe Prince of Fenway Park
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