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Ice Trilogy

(Ice Trilogy #1-3)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  701 ratings  ·  78 reviews
A New York Review Books Original
In 1908, deep in Siberia, it fell to earth. THEIR ICE. A young man on a scientific expedition found it. It spoke to his heart, and his heart named him Bro. Bro felt the Ice. Bro knew its purpose. To bring together the 23,000 blond, blue-eyed Brothers and Sisters of the Light who were scattered on earth. To wake their sleeping
Paperback, 694 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by NYRB Classics (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  701 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Glenn Russell
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books

Ice Trilogy consists of three novels: Bro, Ice, and 23,000. It appears most readers begin with Ice or read Ice in isolation - reasonable enough since I see several references to Ice as the #1 book of the Ice Trilogy.

This New York Review Books edition starts with Bro then moves to Ice and 23,000. Author Vladimir Sorokin intended this order, although he wrote Bro after Ice.

A new underground comic book could be created based on this Vladimir Sorokin novel: BRO - Ice from the primordial light awakened his dormant heart. And now he seeks other blonde, b
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, nyrb
Ironically, for a book that is sort of about the whole being greater than the parts the same isn't true for the novel. Most of the individual parts of the book, the little stories and narrative strands are fairly interesting and readable. The book moved along for me at a fairly quick clip and if i didn't stop and think about the book as a whole I was quite happy with it.

Actually, it wasn't really until I was telling Karen that I was almost finished with it and then added that this isn't very go
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Part One—Bro:
Strangely enough, Sorokin wrote Bro—or at least had it published—a couple of years after he penned Ice, to which the first-named book served as a prequel. It begins in rather commonplace bildungsroman style, recounting the life-forming experiences of a somewhat awkward but vibrant and energetic Russian boy, the son of a wealthy merchant and one apparently being groomed for a career in service of the same. Whilst still a child, however, the Great War befalls the Russian Empire, followed by the Revolution of 191One—
I finished this on Friday night or so, and was all prepared to rate and review it like a GoodReader does. But then I did some normal physical stuff that apparently my body is very unhappy with, and I spent the rest of my downtime this weekend trying to figure out how to roll off the couch and into a standing position without damaging myself or my loved ones. And, also (and possibly relatedly but I'm waiting for my doctor to get back to me on this) my thyroid hates me.

So a proper rate
Spencer Orey
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whoa this was super weird and great. The writing in the first book was a little clunky (intentionally probably as it mirrored the crystalline thoughts of the narrator), but a ton of interesting ideas and perspectives. I love the idea of a secret alien-ish cult thing starting up at the start of the Russian Revolution and everything that followed. I'm glad Bro starts things in this collection, even though it wasn't the first book written in the series. Really enjoying these classics of Soviet/Russ ...more
This was my debut and retirement as a reader of Vladimir Sorokin and probably all of Russian sci-fi in general. Not that I was much of a non-Russian sci-fi reader to begin with.

I own a physical copy of this book, which I bought about a decade ago because of some stellar reviews. Finally got around to reading it, wanting to find out if it's worth taking up so much shelf space. Spoiler alert: it wasn't.

It's about 700-pages long, containing the whole trilogy under one cover. So this is
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, fiction, russia
A strange book. Multiple interesting strands which never really are cohesive enough to form a broader narrative. Some interesting allegory, though it becomes painfully didactic.
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian
Hmm, I'm going to be legit with you. I'm somewhere deep in the outskirts of Seattle and its strange environs on the Sound, deep in the wet forest of the Salish Sea. Living out of a car, avoiding hard sunlight from a dying planet, selling evermore expensive space in a small building to those that lack it. And as I write this I am even now weeks removed from those last words I've written for you. I am only writing out of an obsessive need to write (and edit and share at a much later date).
Rambling Reader
whoa, the ending was unexpected
The Final Song ❀
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Speculative fiction bordering on fantasy, pretty warped in some ways, but nothing too unacceptable. It’s a fresh plot, though the writing style can be quite tedious to read. Sorokin dipped his toes into history for this one as well, which gave the book more depth. For such a thick book, it was not difficult to get through as the story ambled along. It was interesting that the story could take unexpected turns, not predictable like many plots. However, the ending was unexpected, and I personally ...more
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I didn't. The concept of a book this large written from the point of view of, or at least spending the most time in the story of, a bunch of primordial light that became trapped in human bodies during the creation of the earth and that now want to destroy Earth in order to become light again. As a reader and a human, it's kind of difficult to root for the light beings. Especially as they aren't written to be terribly sympathetic.

So let's
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning there was light and the light moved through the perfect universe, perfect in its motion and its existence. The light moved past perfect worlds in the perfect void. It saw a sphere of pure liquid, beautiful in its perfection. The light shone into it, entered that perfect prison, that labyrinth of refraction that shattered the light into 23,000 pieces!

The light moved about, stirring the waters, heating things up. Life bloomed, countless generations of evolutionary multitudes rising and falling
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, russian
There were several factors that lead me to pick up the Ice Trilogy on a particularly hot, low-key, and eventually more expensive than I planned July 23:

1. It was my birthday
2. It's Russian
3. The synopsis sounded interesting
4. The repetition of the number 23

And now, after two (?) months of reading this book, I think it best that I should learn that not everything that has a 23 is going to be enlightening.

I enjoyed the first chapter. I rather l
Dec 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Um, what now?

My original intention was to review each of the three books in the Ice Trilogy. As you can see below, I only really reviewed the first one, Bro. It also took me 6 months of faffing about to finish the book. (Yes, I read some amazing books in the meantime.)

The beginning was brilliant. The ending was fun and interesting. But, man, I don't think Sorokin makes a very good case for weird or satirical fiction here. There was almost no humor, or at least sideways re
Mar 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The book questions whether all of human progress has taken us away from salvation, not along moral channels the way most religions do, but along technological and societal channels. Eternity, Sorokin's sect suggests, is the natural state of being, and human beings were an accidental interruption of it. All of our knowledge and advancement represents a cancer growing upon the pure and lifeless beauty inherent in the universe. This question of progress begets another question, asked directly of re ...more
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full of stunning original ideas, yet somewhat sloppy in the execution. I feel like I'm giving this more stars than it really deserves simply because I've never encountered anything like it.

The first real stumbling block is the fact that the first two books are essentially the same plot (book 2 was actually written first, but book 1 is much better written). The 3rd book really pulls out all of the stops and is enjoyably insane, yet the place it ends up in is sort of unsatisfying (mainly because
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I kept putting this book off, mainly because of its size, but once I got into it it flew by. I was a fan of the Russian film "4" that Sorokin wrote. Like that film it is uniquely weird and combines so many genres in its sprawling tale of the discovery of the 23,000 that it never really gets boring. Sorokin lets characters die, has them vanish into the prose, it's very clever with its metaphors. I don't think there's really anything quite like it, maybe it gets close to magical realism in a way b ...more
Chad Post
May 15, 2011 rated it liked it
*GoodReads needs to allow half-stars.*

I think this would make a better miniseries than a book, but it's still fairly interesting. To me. I don't know anyone else who's read this and liked it. It's not particularly well written, the characters are pretty flat, it's extremely repetitive, etc. . . . Yet, the concept of this story--new agey cult believes that the ice meteor that caused the Tungus incident awakens the hearts of a chosen 23,000 who will bring about the transformation of th
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
ICE TRILOGY is sprawl, is girth. Daunting but maybe a little (pleasantly) silly. But careful, sophisticated, tending to accrue in weird ways. Part of this sprawl is of course born of the fact the novel traverses a fairly considerable expanse of time, roughly a century (we begin in the early 20th and end in the early 21st). But the timeframe is uniquely broken up so that literary forms germane to the periods depicted are correspondingly deployed. The sections of the novel that lead from 1908 to t ...more
Dara Salley
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful fever dream of a science fiction novel. I was a little intimidated when I picked it up because it’s 700 pages. I knew that if it weren’t entrancing, I’d never make it through. Luckily, there was never a dull moment and I had no problem devouring the book.

The narrative starts out as a fairly conventional history of a young man who grew up during the Russian Revolution. Soon, however, the novel takes a sharp left turn into an area of fantasy. The protagonist of the
I must have read a pretty glowing review of this somewhere and felt ambitious, because I'm kind of sizist about books. That is to say, I am generally not inclined to make time for one 700-page book, when I could instead read two 350-page books. In any event, the first volume in this Russian trilogy ("Bro"), begins with great promise. We meet and follow a boy born at the same moment of the 1908 Tunguska "event" (there is still debate over whether or not it was a comet or asteroid or something els ...more
Steve Wojciechowski
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
It was well suited to collect the three parts of "Ice Trilogy" into a single volume. Inside you will find all manner of post-modern tricks of the trade, broken story lines, abrupt changes in form and style, juxtaposition of the old and new, and confused wanderers desperately searching for something greater than themselves in a world where everything is vacuous.

Sorokin rejects the emptiness of 20th century life, using post-modern forms against themselves, showing us a group of people whose happi
Gevera Bert
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was terrible.

Preachy, over written to the point of incoherence, stupid amounts of capitalized words and italics that distract instead of enhance. Toward the end there are pages-long smug, nonsensical paragraphs about "meat machines" and "metal tubes".

For example: "Eighty-eight years ago this meat machine, with the help of his cohorts, had overturned a dynasty of meat machines that had ruled the Country of Ice for more than three hundred years."

Alternates between pointless minu
Hugo Hamilton
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an astonishing book, It's not at all what you expect: infuriatingly prolix, grotesquely over-written as only a Russian novel can be. And yet the writing is beautiful and the plot is a tour-de-force leading you into new dimensions without ever letting you know where you are going, right to the climax which is as unexpected as it is startling. You have to sit for a few minutes and let your mind stumble back to reality. Along the way you see the 20th Century from an entirely new perspective ...more
Nov 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, russia
At this point my conclusion is as a stand-alone piece of work the middle section of the Ice Trilogy is brilliant, bizarre and terrifying. As part of the whole, the second book Ice feels more like a way-station on a journey that is swinging toward tedium. It feels like blasphemy because my meat machine heart has loved almost everything that has been translated by Sorokin thus far, for its violence, its objectivism, its alien tone, but Ice Trilogy is an epic undertaking that seems better suited to the small ...more
Jim Coughenour
I read only the first book of this trilogy and that was enough. Sorokin is clearly a brilliant writer, but (given my general lack of interest in science fiction) it left me cold. Neither the story, the style, the mystico-political allegory, nor the characters sustained my interest. I accept the rebuke that I've missed the full context, that it's only by finishing the other two volumes that I would fully understand the first. But that's not going to happen. I have to save my exhaustion for Knausgård.
Jonathan Hawpe
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Whoa. Not for everyone. But definitely for me! Relates the epic destructiveness of human culture in the 20th century to our drive towards transcendence (be that religious or scientific/technological). It asks the reader to try to understand the viewpoint of essentially in-human beings, and an order to the universe that may not ideally include people. Tough stuff, but utterly fascinating and grandly entertaining to those that have a dark, philosophical bent.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The best parts were about meat machines really. Also liked the genre shifts.
Some descriptions were repetitive. I feel like it would have been better with some overall meaning, instead of current amalgamation of short stories. But having read Ice trilogy I now understand where Telluria comes from.
M Pierce Joyce
Dec 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Update, March 2018: Initially I gave this two stars, but after reading more about Russia this book seems more real. It's still way too repetitive, but with some more context on Russia's current cultural events it's a more sensible fiction.
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NYRB Classics: Ice Trilogy, by Vladimir Sorokin 1 11 Oct 23, 2013 01:40PM  

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Vladimir Sorokin (Владимир Сорокин, Vlagyimir Szorokin) was born in a small town outside of Moscow in 1955. He trained as an engineer at the Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas, but turned to art and writing, becoming a major presence in the Moscow underground of the 1980s. His work was banned in the Soviet ...more

Other books in the series

Ice Trilogy (3 books)
  • Ice
  • Путь Бро
  • 23000 (Światło i Lód #3)
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