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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen (5 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720613299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720613292
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Review

'How simple this novel is. How subtle. How strong. How unlike any other. It is unique. It is unforgettable. It is extraordinary.' --Doris lessing, The Indepedent

'It is hard to do justice to 'The Ice Palace'... the narrative is urgent, the descriptions relentlessly beautiful, the meaning as powerful as the ice piling up on the lake.' --The Times

'It is hard to do justice to 'The Ice Palace'... the narrative is urgent, the descriptions relentlessly beautiful, the meaning as powerful as the ice piling up on the lake.' --The Times

Extraordinary. . . a classic --Gabriel Gbadamosi, BBC Radio 4 A Good Read

Extraordinary. . . a classic --Gabriel Gbadamosi, BBC Radio 4 A Good Read

About the Author

Tarjei Vesaas (1987-1976) was born in the remote rural Telemark district of Norway, where he spent most of his life. Throughout his life he published several novels, volumes of poetry and a book of short stories which was awarded an international prize at Venice in 1952. He was awarded several other prizes and was a canidate for the Nobel Prize in 1964, 1968 and again in 1969. He died in 1970, his reputation as the leading Nordic writer firmly established.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Porter on 21 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
The Ice Palace is the tale of friendship between two eleven year old girls. The girls, Siss and Unn, live in a rural community in Norway. The friendship between the two girls is a classic example of 'opposites attract'. Siss is outgoing, extroverted and a natural leader. Unn, who after the death of her mother moved to the village to stay with her aunt, is shy, retiring and very much an outsider.

Siss visits Unn and the latter explains that she is keeping a dreadful secret. A secret that will prevent her from going to heaven. The next day Unn, due to having made her confession, feels she would be embarrassed to meet Siss at school. Unn decides to play truant to visit the ice palace. An ice palace is a natural structure formed when a waterfall freezes. Unn enters the ice palace and becomes lost.

When it is dicovered Unn is missing, a search party is organised to look for her. As time passes and no trace of Unn is found, the people of the village begin to wonder if Siss knows more about Unn's disappearance that she is letting on. Siss is devastated at the loss of her friend and vows never to forget her. Siss becomes how Unn was: lonely, distant and outside the society of her peers. Like Unn became disorientated and lost in the ice palace; Siss becomes emotionally disorientated and lost. Siss has to come to terms with and escape from her angst before she can progress to adolescence and adulthood.

The Ice Palace is a powerful and moving novel. Doris Lessing said of it "How simple this novel is. How subtle. How strong. How unlike any other. It is unique. It is unforgettable. It is extraordinary".
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 April 2001
Format: Paperback
The Ice Palace is the most beautiful novel i have ever read. It pushed me to extremes of emotions never thought possible. It is a symbolic and psychological novel about two young and innocent girls who are mutually drawn towards each other. It is a story of loneliness and the need for human contact, which is ultimately severed by the attraction of the Ice Palace and the cruelty of the Norwegian winter. Vesaas won "Nordisk Råds litteraturpris" (Nordic literature award) for "The Ice Palace".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ann Fairweather TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 May 2014
Format: Paperback
If you wish for a very Nordic read, this is it. Forests, snow landscape, ice, long winter nights and very quiet people, it really conveys a marvellous feel of the Great North. It is the story, poetic and strange, of the intense but short-lived friendship between two young girls. There is shyness, understanding, secrets, longings, fear, and the book describes beautifully a very mysterious relationship. Then one of the girls disappears...This is a book to experience rather than talk about. It leaves a palpable sense of the cold, white immensity and profound isolation of deep Norway. Written with a beautiful, lyrical, sparse prose, it is a vivid, unforgettable story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sean Fleming on 4 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the story of two school girls who strike up a brief but very intense friendship, and what happens when one of the two goes missing. It does an incredible job of transporting you inside the troubled mind of someone under pressure.

It was first published in 1963 and is set amid the ice and snow of a small rural Norwegian community. The author, Vesaas, was also a poet and it shows. Even through translation into English, The Ice Palace is a very carefully crafted piece of literary work.

Sadly, I found that got in the way at times; I don’t always want to marvel at an artist’s brushstrokes, sometimes I just want to stare at the painting.
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By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Although this novel was first published in the 1960s, I have only recently come across it and realised that Tarjei Vesaas who died in 1970, is regarded as one of Norway’s finest writers.

Vesaas gets inside the heads of the two eleven-year-old girls who are his two main characters. Sis is intrigued by the arrival of “new girl” Unn who plays the loner, perhaps because of her mother’s recent death which has brought her to live with an aunt in a remote rural community. In her excitement over the prospect of an intense pre-teen age friendship with Sis, Unn plays truant from school and sets off across a large frozen lake to investigate the “ice palace”, which has formed at a distant waterfall. In this excellent translation by Elizabeth Rokkan, her fateful journey is one of the most striking pieces of description I have ever read. “Bent bracken stood in the ice like delicate drawings”.

Ensuing events are fairly few and simple in this short novel, but it becomes a gripping page turner by reason of the sustained tension, the portrayal of nature by turns menacing and of exquisite beauty, and the subtilty of the characters’ communication. This is a very Scandinavian novel, in which we really feel the long darkness of the winter night, threatening when one is alone; the strength of the steel-ice on the lake despite its tendency to blast “long fissures, narrow as a knife-blade, from the surface down into the depths” with a thunderous noise like gunshot; the magical Kubla Khan-like caves of the ice palace; the sequence of seasonal change from early winter ice through all-concealing snow to the eventual thaw. There is also the mysterious appeal of Unn who implies a secret she will not reveal.
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