Philippa Snow at The Baffler:
A YEAR BEFORE ANNA KAVAN WAS FOUND DEAD in her home in Kensington in 1968, she published Ice, her elliptical magnum opus. “It is not meant to be realistic writing,” she had said. “It’s a sort of present day fable . . . one of those recurring dreams.” The novel is an allegory, although whether it is meant to function as an allegory for one thing or several things is not entirely clear. Certainly, it gestures toward something circular, evilly addictive, borne of nature, catastrophic, and as inescapable as death itself, making it possible to read Ice as a story about heroin addiction, and equally easy to interpret it as a parable about heterosexual love. The book’s narrator, a man who no doubt believes himself to be a hero in the classic mold, is traveling through a war-torn, post-apocalyptic landscape in search of his former lover, who has since married a tyrant. As a result of some unspecified change to the environment, the world is slowly being enveloped in a layer of ice, making it as slippery and treacherous as the book’s ever-changing narrative.