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The Ice Storm

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  4,298 Ratings  ·  303 Reviews
The year is 1973. As a freak winter storm bears down on an exclusive, affluent suburb in Connecticut, cars skid out of control, men and women swap partners, and their children experiment with sex, drugs, and even suicide. Here two families, the Hoods and the Williamses, come face-to-face with the seething emotions behind the well-clipped lawns of their lives - in a novel w ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 10th 2002 by Back Bay Books (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 12, 2017 Fabian rated it it was ok
It tries hard to be clever but the language carries a heavy & pompous aroma. Instead of it being cold, sad and brilliant, it is too insider-y, too ordinary a tale and almost overly faulty. It was written... why? That countless times the author tries to tie in the family drama with the strangeness of the times (1973), and fails, pretty much destroys its entire purpose, whatever that may have been and was not.

Yes, there is a tragedy (and when it comes to these dramadies, when doesn't that happ
Oct 23, 2013 S. rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
The American literati bristled last year when one of the Nobel Prize bigwigs said the country’s writers were too entangled with their own mass culture to get close to a new Nobel in Literature. I don’t think that’s entirely true, but after reading "The Ice Storm" I have to say I suspect the Swedish bigwig was reading Rick Moody.

Not that I didn’t like the book. But having been alive and fully conscious in the 1970’s, I knew the dozens of TV shows and pop songs Moody referenced. To be honest, the
David Gillespie
Feb 16, 2011 David Gillespie rated it it was amazing
On the outset, Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm appears to be a Generation X era relic about what it was like to grow up in the 1970’s. Any serious reader has probably read at least one of these type of stories before; stories chock full of ironic kitsch and facile observations on how screwed up the Me generation were. At the beginning of the novel, Moody lives up to that description, as he sloshes the kitsch with a ladle, with lists of brand names, pop songs, and other period icons so that you can be ...more
Nov 16, 2013 Jonfaith rated it really liked it
Fucking family. Feeble and forlorn and floundering and foolish and frustrating and functional and sad, sad. Fucking family. Fiend or foe.

Likely Ang Lee's film remains superior. The struggle is apparent here. One trying to rationalize one's upbringing is always a fool's errand. Moody appears to halt before the warmth. He's perhaps too keen to be clinical.
3.5 stars.

The Ice Storm was, oftentimes, an incredibly difficult read. Not in terms of structure or writing-style--Moody's writing was often sharp-intake-of-breath-beautiful:

"The sheer, white drapes in the guest room were limp as the bangs of a sad schoolgirl" (5)


"Once his dreams had been songs. He'd been a balladeer of promise and opportunity" (6)

but in the affect it had on me, the reader. Many of the scenes in the book were discomfiting, disturbing, heavily focused on sex acts, and the wo
Nov 25, 2016 Abraham rated it really liked it
An exuberant and dark novel that makes you both laugh and hold your stomach at the detailed and nauseating portrayals of the shame of youth and family. No one is safe in this book, and no one is good. Everything is tinged with either a rot that is unredeemable or a rot that is still in its seedling state. The children will be as rotten as the parents, and the parents seem beyond hope. The culture of the town is hopeless and the only thing that makes it at all uplifting is the sense that this era ...more
Carol Peters
Jun 03, 2016 Carol Peters rated it liked it
Downgrade to 3 for the sheer ugliness of every character & the plot & the sustained mockery of everyone & everything. Upgrade to 4 for the quality of the writing & intensity of the drama.

I couldn't devote myself to writing something this ugly. It's not just people treating people badly ugly, it's mockery of the early 70s suburban way of life, or "as imagined on TV" way of life. I partner-swapped but not in this bloodless who-cares-who-you-draw fashion, & no one I knew abando
Aug 16, 2016 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: smut, 2016
Let's play Literary Key Party!

Here's how it goes: everyone plays an author, and then you pick another author's keys and you have to write your story in their style!

For example, if I'm John Fowles and I end up with Jane Austen's keys, I might say
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a young lady to lock in his basement.
Here are some names to get you started:

Jane Austen
Flannery O'Connor
Dorothy Parker
Ayn Rand
Carolyn Kee
Dec 21, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
All in all, I gotta say I'm disappointed. That's why I'm giving this book such a mediocre review- something I rarely do for books. I *loved* this movie. I love how it dealt with these "slice of life" moments in the lives of these four family members, and how they coalesced around their indescretions with a neighbor family. Paul, the son who was least involved in this inter-familial deceit (he lived at boarding school and spent the majority of the book at a friend's apartment far away in New York ...more
I saw the Ang Lee adaptation of this book a few years back and so was curious about Moody's novel. While the movie was stylized and Twin Peak-ish, it was a tad boring. The novel, on the other hand, was a page turner.

Set during a single 24-hour period in New Canaan Connecticut, 1973, Moody gives us an accurate lay of the land with all the products, projects, and preoccupations of the beginning of Watergate and the end of Viet Nam. I'm the same age as two of the teens in the book, Wendy and Sandy,
Nov 17, 2013 R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
A strange beast: it's Rabbit Angstrom fanfiction. but sets the pace for Chabon's and Lethem's usage of comic books (and their creators) as some sort of (misguided) universal cultural touchstone.

Was overly creeped out by the key party scene. Doubly so, since TCM Underground was on (low) in the background, featuring Hatchet for the Honeymoon ( ) and a proto-Goblin score ( ) ...a score that seemed (seems) so much mor
Kali VanBaale
Jan 31, 2012 Kali VanBaale rated it really liked it
What I love about this book is its unsentimental view of suburban turmoil and discontent--that phrase "all is not what it seems" I love to see played out in literature so much. In some ways, THE ICE STORM feels like it picks up where Richard Yates' classic and brilliant suburban novel REVOLUTIONARY ROAD left off--from the 50's to the early 70's--and in the span of that decade between the two books, adults haven't learned much. One immediate difference with Moody's story though, is that he offers ...more
Michael Hughes
Moody is more interested in waxing poetic (sometimes "poetic") than letting his characters speak and think for themselves. Consequently, we don't care about them very much. They aren't allowed to be real in the reader's mind. Moody is always present as an intermediary. And his contempt - for these characters, for their suburban milieu - is exhausting stuff. There isn't much action in The Ice Storm but there is plenty of unseemly poring over shameful sex and the ruins of sad, failed lives. Abando ...more
Mattia Ravasi
Oct 25, 2016 Mattia Ravasi rated it it was ok
The Ice Storm is a tirade on how terrible your life can be when you are WASP and rich and priviledged. It's well written and flows like a wonder, but it is one of those books in which nothing really happens even when people die and everyone is a complete asshole, and if you are looking for one of those, by all means read Franzen's 21st century novels - they are, at least, quite dope - or John Updike's Rabbit novels before turning to this one.
The condescending way in which this book deals with co
C. Gregory Thompson
Jan 17, 2015 C. Gregory Thompson rated it it was amazing
Loved every word. Had no idea Moody was this good. Will be reading more of him. Very jealous of his talent.
Oct 12, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
This was a favorite when I first read it at around age 20. I responded to its cynical view of American suburban life and this dissolution of the nuclear family. I admired its wry take on consumerism and the soulless pop culture of its era, the early 1970s, and its rhetoric influenced a wannabe subversive undergrad pretentiousness that I didn't shake until well into adulthood. In a similar way, its unorthodox stylistic features and narrative structure informed my own half-assed attempts at being ...more
Feb 15, 2011 John rated it it was amazing

With its pristine, white picket fence image and sometimes hellacious underbelly, the suburban lifestyle easily lends itself to ridicule.

Books (like Jeffrey Eugenides’ “The Virgin Suicides”), films (i.e. “American Beauty”), and television shows (such as “Desperate Housewives” or “Weeds”) have all taken different approaches in dissecting and scrutinizing the inner workings of American middle-to-upper-class neighborhoods. These mediums have followed and even help set a common contention in the Uni
Dec 23, 2011 Stephen rated it really liked it
The Ice Storm by Rick Moody is set in the real town of New Canaan in Fairfield County, Connecticut. A popular home for wealthy commuting New Yorkers since the advent of the railroad in 1868, its population more than doubled between 1950 and 1970 (from 8,001 to 17,451) as a result of its position at the centre of the modern architectural design movement from the late 1940s to the 1960s when a group of Havard students moved to the town and built around 80 to 100 modern homes. Other famous architec ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Dusty rated it it was ok
Maybe this book is too long. Maybe the other reviewers are correct that Rick Moody's scrupulous attention to 70s pop culture overwhelms his ability to tell a good story. Maybe I know, and like, Ang Lee's movie adaptation too well. Whatever the case, my mind wandered an awful lot while I was trying to read The Ice Storm, a book I first admired but didn't like and then didn't admire or like all that much.

Three of my wandering thoughts:

1. The Ice Storm tells the story of a typical day in the life o
Some years ago, I watched the Ang Lee film of the same name (sorry to compare the book to the movie, I normally hate it when people do that, but it has a purpose, I promise), and was delighted by his use of the visual aesthetic of the 1970s-- shag carpets and plastic furniture and warm colors and middle-aged faces that reek of vice-- to guide his narrative of family collapse.

Rick Moody, unsurprisingly, uses similar techniques, constantly referencing movies and political events, or going into ext
Nov 11, 2015 Raluca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La inceput am crezut ca va fi un fel de portretizare a anilor 60-70, fiind luata pe sus de valul informatiilor politice si a celor extrase din cultura pop acelei ere. Moody parea sa demitizeze aura anilor hippy si ai rock and roll-ului cu care eu, mai inculta asa cum sunt, eram obisnuita. Actiunea se concentreaza asupra membrilor familiei Hood - parintii Ben si Elena, copiii Paul si Wendy - fiind observati mai intai individual cu problemele si afectiunile personale pe care Moody le zgandara cu t ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Allan rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Having already seen the film based on the novel, I suppose I knew what to expect from this book.

Set during one day just before Thanksgiving 1973, the book follows the individual members of the Williams and Hood families, who both live in an affluent suburb of Conneticut and enjoy all the trappings of consumerism of the time, but are far from happy, the adults struggling with fidelity within marriage, the teenage children with their emergent hormones. The dysfunctional nature of both families is
Di Taylor
Mar 08, 2011 Di Taylor rated it it was ok
We were assigned this novel in our themed literature class "Quest & Arrival." It is the story of two families who are neighbors along with their 4 kids. While there is much to learn from the story itself with a time travel back to 1973 with many allusion in the story which were lost on me (most of the time). What makes this story hard to digest is because it's like having a front row seat to a train wreck involving the unity of family. While I'm inclined to think bits of the story may be far ...more
Feb 03, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
Although I get sort of anxious and moody when I think about the seventies, this book really drew me in from page one and kept me hooked. It's a profoundly sad, yet witty piece of writing. And although the theme of "the seedy underbelly of the suburbs" is sort of over done and we've all seen it before, I think this book does one of the better, more believable jobs at portraying it. The story of Wendy, the hormonal and romantically confused woman to be is heartbreaking at times, adorable at others ...more
Oct 12, 2015 Liz rated it did not like it
Painful, painful, painful! Maybe I'm just not high brow enough, or literate enough, but this book was painful, and not in a good way. It felt like it was trying so hard to be so deep but ended up just being so awful. When the best part of a book is the effect the electrocution of 14 year old boy has on his family and sorta kinda girlfriend, which mind you doesn't even happen until the last 40-50 pages? I almost masochistically want to see the movie now to see if it too is as dreadful as this boo ...more
Oct 16, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Family dysfunction and conflict done so well that one feels sympathy for every character. Husbands, wives, kids all caught up in an idyllic WASPY coverup each doomed for a lifetime of therapy. Loved the way Moody weaves the era of the story with political, fashion, food, decorative, car descriptions. Profound and deeply disturbing ending. Might get around to watching the movie but probably not because the book is always better.
Jan 09, 2017 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like good writing and kitschy 70s references
A rarity: a good book that became an equally good movie. The book has a certain edge because of the Fantastic Four references, and it held up on re-reading--during a blizzard, appropriately.
Lola Wallace
Jun 25, 2007 Lola Wallace rated it really liked it
One of the few cases where the movies was ALMOST as good as the book. The coldness and melancholy this book invokes in me... Moody is incredible.
Jan 14, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite
One of my favorite novels of all time
Ben Lainhart
Dec 18, 2011 Ben Lainhart rated it liked it
A witty, observant and well-written novel. Some of Moody's sentences sparkle with life.
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Rick Moody (born Hiram Frederick Moody, III on October 18, 1961, New York City), is an American novelist and short story writer best known for The Ice Storm (1994), a chronicle of the dissolution of two suburban Connecticut families over Thanksgiving weekend in 1973, which brought widespread acclaim, and became a bestseller; it was later made into a feature film.

More about Rick Moody...

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“The past was so past it hurt.” 11 likes
“Words are the oldest information storage and retrieval system ever devised. Words are probably older than the cave paintings in France, words have been here for tens of thousands of years longer than film, moving pictures, video, and digital video, and words will likely be here after those media too. When the electromagnetic pulse comes in the wake of the nuclear blast? Those computers and digital video cameras and videotape recorders that are not melted outright will be plastic and metal husks used to prop open doors. Not so with the utterances of tongues. Words will remain, and the highly complicated and idiosyncratic accounts assembled from them will provide us with the dark news about the blast. The written word will remain, scribbled on collapsed highway overpasses, as a testament to love and rage, as evidence of the wanderers in the ruin.” 8 likes
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