An Ice-cream War

An Ice-cream War

Book - 1999
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"Rich in character and incident, An Ice-Cream War fulfills the ambition of the historical novel at its best."
-- The New York Times Book Review

Booker Prize Finalist

"Boyd has more than fulfilled the bright promise of [his] first novel. . . . He is capable not only of some very funny satire but also of seriousness and compassion."nbsp;nbsp;--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

1914. In a hotel room in German East Africa, American farmer Walter Smith dreams of Theodore Roosevelt. As he sleeps, a railway passenger swats at flies, regretting her decision to return to the Dark Continent--and to her husband. On a faraway English riverbank, a jealous Felix Cobb watches his brother swim, and curses his sister-in-law-to-be. And in the background of the
world's daily chatter: rumors of an Anglo-German conflict, the likes of which no one has ever seen.

In An Ice-Cream War , William Boyd brilliantly evokes the private dramas of a generation upswept by the winds of war. After his German neighbor burns his crops--with an apology and a smile--Walter Smith takes up arms on behalf of Great Britain. And when Felix's brother marches off to defend British East Africa, he pursues, against his better judgment, a forbidden love affair. As the sons of the world match wits and weapons on a continent thousands of miles from home, desperation makes bedfellows of enemies and traitors of friends and family. By turns comic and quietly wise, An Ice-Cream War deftly renders lives capsized by violence, chance, and the irrepressible human capacity for love.

"Funny, assured, and cleanly, expansively told, a seriocomic romp. Boyd gives us studies of people caught in the side pockets of calamity and dramatizes their plights with humor, detail and grit."nbsp;nbsp;-- Harper's

"Boyd has crafted a quiet, seamless prose in which story and characters flow effortlessly out of a fertile imagination. . . . The reader emerges deeply moved." --Newsday
Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 1999.
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed.
ISBN: 9780375705021
Characteristics: 408 p. : map ; 21 cm.


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Dec 21, 2012

Boyd takes 3 chapters and almost 100 pages to introduce the main characters. ZZzzz. Another chapter describes the boredom of a primary character during two ocean voyages. ZZzzz. This novel would be a fine screenplay in the style of the late Scandinavian movie director Ingmar Bergman with his dark themes and unhappy endings. As this fictional novel is based on real events and characters in East Africa, enjoy a snappier narrative in the history books "The Germans who never lost: the story of the Konigsberg" (1968) and "Guerilla: Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck & Germany's East African Empire" (1981) both by Edwin P. Hoyt. A cannon mounted on a plinth near Kasama, Zambia, marks the spot where von Lettow-Vorbeck's guerilla forces laid down their arms upon the armistice in Europe (a photograph may be viewed on Google Earth).

Oct 11, 2012

The novel is about the fighting in East Africa during WW I between the Germans and British. The main characters are two English brothers, both of whom end up in Africa. It has humour and irony but is lightweight.


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