3 Jul 2015

AN ICE-CREAM WAR.



An Ice-Cream WarAN ICE-CREAM WAR by WILLIAM BOYD.

BACK COVER BLURB: On the Western Front millions are being slaughtered. But in East Africa a ridiculous and utterly ignored campaign is being waged - one that continues after the Armistice because no one bothers to tell the participants to stop.

As millions are swept up in the conflict, An Ice-Cream War contrasts the fortunes of those languishing at home with those fighting abroad, swept up in the passions of battlefield and bedchamber, while history makes up its mind whether events shall be played as tragedy or comedy.

FIRST SENTENCE {Part One: Before The War: Chapter One: 6 June 1914, Dar-es-Salaam, German East Africa}: 'What do you think would happen,' Colonel Theodore Roosevelt asked his son Kermit, 'if I shot an elephant in the balls?'

MEMORABLE MOMENT{55}: He stamped into the centre of the room flourishing a rolled up newspaper and hurled it into the fire. This gesture would have had more symbolic force if the fire had been lit. As it was it just rebounded from the fire back and struck the gaping Charles just below the knee.

SOURCE: A Readers Group read.

MY THOUGHTS: 'Contrasts the fortunes of those languishing at home with those fighting abroad'. Jumping around between 'home' (England) and 'abroad' (East Africa) often with large gaps between where we left off that aspect of the story to re-joining it I'm afraid for me the narrative just didn't flow well. 

Despite their obsession with genitals and frank sexual talk I much preferred the 'home' episodes spent with the Cobb family, brothers Felix and Gabriel, and their wonderfully dreadful father, Major Cobb (possibly the only redeeming thing about the novel), and can't help but wonder if the story would have benefited from sticking with one thread of the story or the other whether that be the 'home' or 'abroad' element.

'Funny' according to Harper's. Very much a personal matter, what one person finds humorous another person might not and OK whilst there were times when I recognised that certain events could be interpreted as being funny I personally felt the book woefully lacking in this respect. 

Perhaps worst of all though was ...

It was often difficult to pick out the actual plot from all the numerous background details and with such an abundance of viewpoints/various pyschologies the author frequently seemed to lose sight of his characters frequently glossing over 'important' events.

That though set in a war zone there often was no real sense of place, that this was not just any war zone but East Africa.

And that folks is why I didn't enjoy An Ice-Cream War.


12 comments:

Kelly said...

I'll admit this does sound confusing and, after your comments...totally unappealing. That said, I did enjoy the memorable moment you shared.

I certainly hope you got to follow this one with something good since it was such a disappointment. Life's too short to read bad books.

Tracy Terry said...

If only once started I didn't have to finish a book. I wish I could say I only carried on reading because it was a Reader's Group read but truth is when it comes down to it I'm just scared I miss something.

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds like an odd book. Lack of a strong plot does not usually bother me. However, based upon your comments it sounds like this book has a very uneasy mix of elements If the humor of a book does not work for me, it would ruin the entire reading experience.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Yea, I don't think this one would be for me as well. I don't even like the first sentence. Hopefully the next will be better. Have a great weekend.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I don't think this would be a book for me, far too confusing for my poor little brain, although the reviews and ratings I have seen, have almost all been positive.

I admire your principles in always offering up a well considered and honest opinion and review rating about a book. It always reinforces my view that reviewing is a rather subjective exercise, given that, as individuals, there is no way that we are all going to agree on the merits or otherwise, of all the books we decide to read.

Your memorable moment is the one thing that is going to stick in my mind for some time to come:)

Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend.

Yvonne
You mentioned that this was a group reading project, so I am wondering what some of the other readers in your group thought about the book?

Shooting Stars Mag said...

This doesn't sound like a good fit for me, and I'm sorry it was so confusing in places. Thanks for sharing! :)

-lauren

Sherry Ellis said...

The book has an interesting title. Too bad it wasn't a good one.

Blogoratti said...

It definitely has an interesting title, but that's about as good as it gets, it seems.

Alexia561 said...

This does sound like a confusing read, so can understand why you didn't care for the story. If the plot doesn't flow, I quickly lose interest. Hope your next read is better!

kimbacaffeinate said...

Not at all sure this is for me, I do like the sound of the home sections though.

Gina R said...

Oh my. Definitely not a read I'd have picked up but thank you for the frank look inside.

Literary Feline said...

I was hoping for better news about this one.