Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Is-slottet” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,692 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Unn går for langt inn i den frosne fossen, og Siss kjempar ein lang vinter mot frosten i sitt eige sinn. Jentene opplever først at der blir knytte band mellom dei på eit vis dei ikkje kan forklare. Dei er to av ei og ei i to.

Dette er ein roman om vaknande kjensler, om å vere åleine og framand i verda, om å vere barn og stå på terskelen til eit vakse medvit, og om det mørke
Paperback, 8th edition, 156 pages
Published 2007 by Gyldendal (first published 1963)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Is-slottet, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Is-slottet

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
In such a short amount of time and in so few, yet potent, words, Vesaas delivers a chilling, metaphor-driven tale of loss set in the dense winters of Norway. You really should read this book. It is a very quick read, but it will remain with you long after you finish the last page.

Vesaas, who was a decorated poet as well as a novelist, delivers a fresh, poetic and concise prose that damn near flows off the page. The real majesty however, is in the way he crafts an environment that reads like a l
Jul 23, 2013 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of cold, white winters.
“Promise in deepest snow from Siss to Unn:
I promise to think about no one but you.”

Sometimes, only a gleaming glance is enough.
Siss and Unn, two eleven-year old girls living in an isolated, rural community somewhere in Scandinavia, need only a single evening together to forge an uncommon friendship that will change their lives irreparably.
When four eyes full of gleams and radiance beneath their lashes, filling the looking glass, shine into each other, words become redundant. A disturbing meet
When a few dotted lines can cuff my heart into a promise and bind my palms over it in sombre armory, keep me lain in its pristine shadows for hours and yet freeze the time in crystalline imagery, I beam at the prospect: the prospect of living in that promise; that promise which lights up with the chandeliers of frosty realizations hanging from the ceiling of dreams and a sea of incomplete chances freezing my being.

A life is made of promises; some made to self, some to others. And like a diffide

The Ice palace takes place in the raw scenery of the Norwegian late autumn . The evening roaring heralds the strengthening of the ice covering the nearby lake , and in the shadow , on the roadsides unnamed creatures are skulking . But you are not afraid of darkness , Siss , are you ? There’s nothing to be afraid of . It’ll envelop you with soft coat and then you can hear its indistinct voice . Its loves to play sometimes with you , but you know all its clever tricks , all these whispers and ru

The more I like a book, the more I hesitate about how to write it up in a review, about how to capture its beauty and how to convince other readers that it is worth checking up. I read The Ice Palace in one sitting, then I sat and thought about it for a week. At first glance, it is such a simple, straight-forward story, told in understated, minimalist prose. Two young girls meet after school and believe they could become close friends, yet they shy away from giving in to their impulses too fast,
Nate D
Jan 19, 2015 Nate D rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those glimpsed in mirrors of glass, mirrors of ice
Recommended to Nate D by: Inviting ice-fissures
Frostily immaculate and mysterious as the titular ice formation. Tunnels of ice, spires of ice. Rooms with only entries and no exits that beckon, beckon.

There's so much that fascinates here: the ethereal descriptions of northern landscapes, and accompanying slightly alien compassion of its communities, the inexpressible pre-sexual bonds of children, the inexpressible secrets and promises of self and other, the ice palace, always the ice palace. The simple direct language all the more capable of
There is a serious elegance to this little book.

Set in Norway, The Ice Palace is the story of Siss and Unn, two eleven-year-old girls, and their brief but intense friendship. Vesaas’ approach to the insecurities and awkward communications of the two adolescent girls is dealt with so tenderly, it made my bones ache.

The descriptions of ice and snow are vivid, beautiful. So vivid in fact, that half way through I started to feel cold. Seriously. The heating was turned on, a blanket was fetched, an
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Based on the ratings, when I first started reading this and feeling unimpressed (and occasionally even a little annoyed), I half-convinced myself that the author had suffered his entire 73 years with a case of Imminent Death Syndrome, along with Male Pattern Baldness and Sorta-Looks-Like-Willem-Dafoe-itis. I was wrong says now-me to past-me, because this gets better and better the more you get used to the stilted prose, accept it as a voice for (admittedly a bit too sage and emotionally nuanced) ...more
Jul 16, 2013 Ema rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ema by: Mariel / Nate D / Spenke
A novel with a scarcity of words but with a delicate, dreamlike poetry; a story that makes you taste the coldness and isolation of winter in the middle of the summer; an adult writer who can see through the soul of an eleven year girl, down to her utmost fears; a remembrance of childhood with all its awkward moments; two girls that are linked in life and beyond; a secret that is never spoken, buried forever in ice; a promise that is kept, no matter if it brings estrangement; a wonder of nature, ...more
Many years ago (decades even) I watched this movie on television about the life of American poet Maya Angelou. The details of the story have long ebbed away but there’s this one scene that I recall vividly. In it a sort of teacher figure is telling the young Maya about how beautiful words can be, how wonderful it is to love them. I guess this conversation remained with me because at the time I didn’t understand it. I loved reading books already, I loved the stories they told and the adventures I ...more
May 23, 2013 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a ring round Siss
Recommended to Mariel by: I'm not afraid of the dark
They were still dragging the river, downwards from the waterfall where there were pools. The ice-coated dragging poles stood in the snowdrifts at night, pointing upwards.
All roads led to Auntie’s house. Everything collected there, all lines of communication met in this lonely woman, Unn’s sole anchor. The blind lanes crossed there at a clear, tearless point of intersection.
‘I see,’ said Auntie.
‘Thank you,’ she said, ‘It can’t be helped.’
Unn’s anchor in life.

What is the time it takes from when y
Nidhi Singh
It started with a glance. It ran high as a fever. It swept the frosty roads and froze into the green ice palace. It sought its labyrinths, breathed in its strangeness. It settled deep inside Siss. It was the greatest treasure she wrapped under her coat in that most difficult winter of all.

Promise in deepest snow from Siss to Unn:
I promise to think about no one but you.
To think about everything I know about you.

It was the promise that gave Siss the solemnity she needed for Unn. Something that wo
Jeff Jackson
I recommend checking out the excellent reviews by the trio of initialed men: Nate D., M. Kitchell, and s.penkevich. Like them, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, though perhaps I was unduly influenced by having read Vessas' "The Bridges" a few weeks earlier. Both books recount stories about young people and Vesass's simple prose occasionally feels too over-explanatory until you realize the vast chasms of unspoken detail that lie at the very core of these trauma-stricken narratives. These novels je ...more
This is the kind of book (goes down pat in under two hours, btw), where the reviews will utilise more lyrical lingua than actually sourced in the text: it is that sparse and economical with its prose. Written as if for children but with a message no child will understand, it invokes long forgotten memories of Andersen’s ‘The Snow Queen’ and ‘The Little Match Girl’ (the ONLY tale, apart from Wildes ‘The Happy Prince’ which ever made me cry....and still does, even though now that I’m older and wis ...more
This short and marvelous novel was published in 1963 by the Norwegian novelist Tarjei Vesaas, its translation by Elizabeth Rokkan following three years later. The story is simple and quickly told. In a rural village eleven-year-old classmates, Siss and Unn, who have not been close, spend an emotionally charged evening together, forming a fierce and indelible bond. The next day Unn, uncertain about facing Siss so soon after their experience, skips school and explores an ice palace formed by an im ...more
I have this tucked away corner of a shelf with a small stack of books, a treasure trove of only the most specific kind of simple, magical, eerie, uncannily wise books. Saved up, tucked aside, bottled away, just in case there’s one day, off chance, wild notion, life gets inadvertently full of little tangled limbs and skint knees who clamor for bedtime stories with sleepy eyes. “Break glass in case of kids,” it could say.

They are not children’s books. But, somehow, they are the books that belong
[4.5] Two thirds of this were perfect. The grumpiest book blogger I've read describes Vesaas as a "writer of incredibly beautiful simple poetic prose. You know, the kind of stuff that every literary writer is supposed to write (according to reviews) but which none of them actually do. Well, Vesaas actually does." Immaculately honed crystal. Elizabeth Rokkan's 1964 translation has the charm of being from the same time as the book (published in Norwegian the previous year), peppered with a few UK ...more
Reminds slightly, you could say, of Anna Kavan. Peter Owens has said that this is his favorite book he published, and I am very glad it was published. Vesaas creates a narrative space in a way that is similar (though admittedly far more relenting) to the way Philippe Grandrieux constructs his cinematic nightmares. A narrative runs through, perspectives change from first to second to third person without warning (a key to the creation of glissements, but there are no real slidings here, not in th ...more
Tanuj Solanki
The components of the Vesaas' poetry: ice, snow, water, and the woods. It is quite easy to overlook some unassuming yet lyrical descriptions because of their sureit. It seems that there are symbols and metaphors everywhere, and surely at times they operate only as a load on the reading eye. It is primarily a work of poetry and deserves to be read as such. In the degree of his subtlety and understatement, Vesaas is not very distant from (his Japanese contemporary) Yasunari Kawabata. The novel als ...more
Very simple story about two little girls with a folktale-ish feel. Siss and Unn have finally begun to actually make friends after feeling drawn towards each other for months. Then Unn, needing a breather for a day before continuing this new friendship, decides to skip school. The big thing about this book is that it is cold where these people live. They know all these things about the way snow and ice behave that I don't know. It has emotional depth and everything too, but the key thing is the w ...more
This is a strange book. A short book, a novella.

It starts with a description of a budding friendship between two young girls. Then a tragedy happens and one of them disappears. The girl left behind is torn by regret and guilt and tries to keep the memory of her lost friend alive.

The writing is sparse, with short sentences and chapters. The description of countryside and winter in Norway, and the process of grieving over loss and ultimate recovery are wonderful. Eerie, ethereal and enjoyable!
Susan Henn
4/2012 Norwegian classic. Poetic. Haunting. Filled with eerie tension. Although well written with beautifully descriptive prose, the story did not ring true to me. I couldn't help questioning the 63 year old male author's interpretation and presentation of the thoughts and actions of two eleven year old girls. Perhaps I do not understand Norwegian culture because both the interaction between the girls and their thoughts, feelings and actions when they were apart (especially in response to their ...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
I've never felt more strongly for a character in a while. I felt really sad when little Unn lost her way in the labyrinthine ice palace. When her freezing thoughts culminated into a final call for her new friend Siss, I wanted someone to come and hold her. Alas, this is literature.

Siss and Unn. When this subtle fairy tale of growing up begins, they hardly know one another. They spend an evening of unsaid fantasies and disturbing silences which is so masterfully described it sets the tone for wh
Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion

Fill in the blanks, I have a Mary Kay Cosmetics call coming through for some lipstick that I need to rub on my pre-pubescent tits so I can be a Christian again. So human. "Pass the pickles, Ahrensburgian! Fast! I'm desperate!"

In the real version the Ice Palace (the entity, not the book) lives (while Vesaas is killing Antarctica) while Siss and Unn are stranded at a Gorgoroth concert, maybe the Krakow one. There they can chew on twigs while figuring 'something' out, destroy their lungs whiffing a
Diane S. ✨
3.5 Set in rural Norway, this is a story about two young girls, a beginning friendship, secrecy and tragedy. The cold and the ice is described so well in this novella that I actually felt cold while reading. Though these two young girls actually spend only one evening together, the evening had such an impact on these girls that it set the following events in motion.

The prose is brisk, matter of fact, beautifully poetic and it serves this novel so well. All the parts fit and it is up to the read
This is one of those books you discover too infrequently--a novel you instantly know you're going to grow old with, reading it again and again over the years. The Ice Palace is shot through with eeriness, mystery and near-mystical enigma. Yet on another level it is a very simple story told in an elliptical, poetic mode and built on a foundation of frighteningly powerful and conspicuously unnamed currents of emotion.

Highly recommended for fans of Haruki Murakami, Paul Auster, and Kazuo Ishiguro.
This is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Even in translation it is a masterful work of simplicity and subtlety and captures aspects of childhood friendship in an amazing way. Normally I seek to avoid anything that could be considered in the "dead child" genre, but this while set in a bleak landscape of snow and ice is actually more of an optimistic coming of age story than a make you cry book. It's difficult to pinpoint what exactly is so moving about this book. It's q ...more
I carry this little story inside my heart. It instantly found its place and settled quietly there. It is elegant, enchanting, honest, and so simple. I don't know that I can recommend it to people, for fear that they would call it anything other than precious. So bravo to my best friend for being brave enough to recommend it. Alexis: I ponder it in quiet moments. I loved it.
The innocent and simple story of two girls reaching puberty and their nascent friendship: Siss, a popular girl, and Unn, an orphan loner. One awkward evening together, causes Unn to skip school, and go exploring the local waterfall, which has become an ice palace. When Unn does not show up at school or afterwards at home, Siss and the whole community goes off to find her, with pressure on Siss to divulge what happened the prior evening in the hopes it will help locate Unn. The descriptions of th ...more
Ahmed Al Hokail

I woke up, wreathed in whiteness. The bright color of a glistening purity, the ethereal stillness of unfamiliar winter, hovering in a thick cold. I don’t remember winters like this, penetrating the vast dry desert. Whiteness, too much whiteness sprawled in the room, not just from a small window hanged close to the ceiling, but also from the gray walls that seemed translucent. I get out of bed reluctantly. There was no sound, not even the faint sibilant of silence. I walked through the strange co
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Through the Night
  • Mysteries
  • Moment of Freedom: The Heiligenberg Manuscript
  • The Half Brother
  • The Seducer
  • Ice
  • Days in the History of Silence
  • Thomas F's siste nedtegnelser til almenheten
  • Innsirkling
  • Lillelord
  • Jenny
  • In Youth is Pleasure & I Left My Grandfather's House
  • Impossible Object
  • Kassandra and the Wolf
  • The District Governor's Daughters
  • In the Wake
  • Fugletribunalet
Tarjei Vesaas was a Norwegian poet and novelist. Written in Nynorsk, his work is characterized by simple, terse, and symbolic prose. His stories are often about simple rural people that undergo a severe psychological drama and who according to critics are described with immense psychological insight. Commonly dealing with themes such as death, guilt, angst, and other deep and intractable human emo ...more
More about Tarjei Vesaas...
The Birds Kimen The Boat in the Evening Spring Night The Bridges

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Lovnad i djupaste snøen frå Siss til Unn:
Det lovar eg deg at eg ikkje vil tenke på noko anna enn deg.
Tenke på alt eg veit om deg. Tenke på deg heime og på skolen, og på
skolevegen. Tenke på deg heile dagen, og dersom eg vaknar om natta.”
“Draum om nedsnødde bruer

Med vi står fell snøen tettare.

Kåpearmen din blir kvit.

Kåpearmen min blir kvit.

Dei går mellom oss som

nedsnødde bruer.

Men nedsnødde bruer er frosne.

Inni her er det levande varmt.

Varm under snøen er armen din ei

sæl vekt på min.

Det snør og snør

på stille bruer.

Bruer ingen veit om.”
More quotes…