「The Ice Queen」

The Ice Queen/Alice Hoffman (著)
外貨参考価格: $23.95
価格: ¥2,371 (税込)
OFF: ¥419 (15%)
ハードカバー: 211 p ; 出版社: Little Brown & Co (T) ; ISBN: 0316058599 ; (2005/04/04)
From Newsweek
Fairy tale for grown-ups
Alice Hoffman (“Practical Magic”) is known for weaving magic into her stories. Her latest, “The Ice Queen” (Little, Brown and Company, $24), unfolds like a fairy tale for adults. The novel tells the story of an unnamed woman who believes in the power of wishes, because two of her own have come true.

Our narrator can’t seem to get close to people (a prevalent theme in novels lately). When their grandmother dies, her brother Ned convinces her to move from New Jersey to Florida. When she makes a wish to get struck by lightning, she finds herself in a world of other lightning-strike victims, including a man whose jewelry has left brands on his skin and a man known as the dragon, who can spit fire. The narrator suffers effects herself, including losing the ability to see the color red — the descriptions of this highlight some of Hoffman’s strongest writing. She also comes into contact with another mysterious lightning-strike victim, whose skin literally burns those he comes into contact with.

It’s an interesting premise for a novel, but the story never really gets beyond its own fairy tale structure. The characters never seem like real people — perhaps because they’re rendered so fancifully. The story's end takes an unexpected turn, which makes for a good surprise —but because that ending focuses on a character we don't know well, the stakes don’t feel that high.

It’s hard not to take delight in Hoffman’s world of lightning-strike survivors, but ultimately, I just couldn't care about them or the unnamed narrator.