Five Novels So Cold You'll Forget the Heat
I don't care if it's the heat or the humidity, this is unbearable. If you're stuck in Washington this summer and don't have access to a pool, maybe a fantasy setting can help. Here are five novels -- of wildly divergent quality and tone -- that describe places so frigid that you'll almost be grateful for the District's sauna-like atmosphere. Almost.
1. Kim Stanley Robinson, "Fifty Degrees Below" (2005).
In the second installment of Robinson's trilogy of environmental doom, we learn that Al Gore was right, but it's too late! Global warming has stalled the Gulf Stream, first causing massive floods and then plunging the world into a brutal winter that just might finish off mankind. Washington is in a deep freeze, but some diligent scientists think they have a last-ditch solution.
2. Wayne Johnston, "The Colony of Unrequited Dreams" (1999).
This epic novel describes the life of Newfoundland's first premier, Joe Smallwood, from humble beginnings through near-death adventures to the halls of power. Hilarious snippets from the fictional "Condensed History of Newfoundland" add humor to this icebound story. I've been dying to visit ever since I read it.
3. Annie Proulx, "The Shipping News" (1993).
Early in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a misfit loses his sick parents, his dull job and his humiliating wife. Distraught and aimless, he moves to Newfoundland and, against all odds, manages to cobble together the loving family he never had. Still the best book Proulx has written.
4. Per Petterson, "Out Stealing Horses" (2007).
In this quiet, brooding novel, an old widower moves into a remote cabin in snowy Norway. He expects to be spend his time alone in the cold, but he meets a neighbor who reminds him of a traumatic day, many decades ago, when they decided to steal some horses.
5. Claire Davis, "Winter Range" (2000).
When the Montana winter gets so fierce that it starts killing off a poor rancher's cattle, the sheriff
steps in to put the animals out of their misery. But the well-meaning lawman doesn't realize he's stirred up a long-seething resentment that puts his wife in grave danger.
Before I pass out from the heat, let me know if you can think of some other cool titles.
-- Ron Charles
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Dave | July 30, 2008 5:39 PM
Posted by: Wilmington, DE | July 30, 2008 5:43 PM
Posted by: lisa | July 30, 2008 5:56 PM
Posted by: Dave | July 30, 2008 6:15 PM
Posted by: Matt | July 30, 2008 6:39 PM
Posted by: Alex Blackwell | July 30, 2008 7:35 PM
Posted by: Steve | July 30, 2008 8:25 PM
Posted by: cdm | July 30, 2008 10:03 PM
Posted by: Suzanne | July 30, 2008 10:07 PM
Posted by: albert stone | July 30, 2008 10:39 PM
Posted by: sci fi | July 30, 2008 11:39 PM
Posted by: Tom Dillingham | July 30, 2008 11:45 PM
Posted by: Jon Lauderbaugh | July 31, 2008 12:22 AM
Posted by: Jennifer | July 31, 2008 8:27 AM
Posted by: An aging lit major | July 31, 2008 10:06 AM
Posted by: KLeewrite | July 31, 2008 10:34 AM
Posted by: katnap | July 31, 2008 1:17 PM
Posted by: ev small | July 31, 2008 3:02 PM
Posted by: ShirleyS | July 31, 2008 3:24 PM
Posted by: KLeewrite | July 31, 2008 3:49 PM
Posted by: Elaine | July 31, 2008 9:07 PM
Posted by: KLeewrite | July 31, 2008 9:43 PM
Posted by: Patricia Reed | August 2, 2008 9:18 AM
Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2008 11:14 AM
Posted by: mark tarallo | August 4, 2008 1:35 AM
Posted by: Debbie K. | August 7, 2008 4:27 PM
Posted by: Celia | August 20, 2008 4:02 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.