The Ice Forest: Six Stories

Michael McGuire, Author Marlboro Press $9.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-910395-59-5
In this singular collection of short fiction, nature's uncaring immutability serves as both backdrop and antagonist to point up the helplessness of human beings against the ravages of time, and the isolation that is our ultimate condition. McGuire's characters seek love as a salvation from life's emptiness. In two stories, older men are rejuvenated by relationships with younger women. Freezing cold is shut out by the heat of passion; but eventually, winter and the awareness of death set in, and love becomes powerless. In ``The Shadow of the Mountain,'' a cherished baby is lost and a pregnancy aborted as a result of disease, and in the title story the fear of death, symbolized by an ice forest, causes painful disorientation. In ``Walls,'' a vast, dry landscape elicits despair from five campers, the romance of getting back to nature suddenly converted into a nightmarish confrontation with infinite blankness. McGuire's writing is hauntingly thoughtful, inexorably true. With spare words and stark settings, the author has painted six deeply unsettling tales that address our most profound concerns. McGuire is a playwright whose work includes The Scott Fitzgerald Play. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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