The Fantasy Wri"/>

The Empire of Ice Cream

Jeffrey Ford, Author, Jonathan Carroll, Introduction by
Jeffrey Ford, Author, Jonathan Carroll, Introduction by . Golden Gryphon $24.95 (319p) ISBN 978-1-930846-39-5
Reviewed on: 02/20/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-1-930846-58-6
Show other formats

In "Coffins on the River," one of several autobiographical stories in Ford's outstanding second collection of fantastic fiction (after 2002's The Fantasy Writer's Assistant ), the narrator remarks: "[T]he ideas would fly like bats at sundown, like phone calls from our creditors." Whether drawing on his past as a schoolboy (in the previously unpublished "Botch Town"), a clam digger ("The Trentino Kid") or an adult returning to his childhood home ("A Night in the Tropics"), Ford uses such incongruously lyrical phrases to infuse the everyday with a nebulous magic that erases the line between reality and belief. Sorrow is always quietly present, even in pieces of pure whimsy such as "The Annals of Eelin-Ok," "The Green Word" and "Summer Afternoon," and it becomes more prominent in three tales of people created by others' imaginations: the surreal "A Man of Light," the bittersweet "Boatman's Holiday" and the Nebula-winning title story. Brief afterwords provide both real-world context and a welcome pause between the intensely engaging stories. Both new and returning fans will be entranced and delighted. (Apr.)