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Friday, December 2, 2011

Romance, sex, obsession and adventure

A long novel, Alexandra Sophia’s “Lover From an Icy Sea” is also a mesmerizing one. About a love affair between the stunning (and wealthy) fashion magazine editor Daneka Sorenson and photographer Kit Addison, it is much, much more than that. It is about a deeply damaged woman, obsession (“And now, he realized, he’d fallen in love, deeply in love, obsessively in love, with an illusion.”), sexual addiction and tragedy. From early in the story I saw Daneka as a deeply disturbed individual -- her excessive need to be in control, the obsessiveness of her sexual appetites, her obsessive cleaning, her rapid mood swings, her need to be in constant motion, moments of tenderness that she would rapidly move away from -- these were nightmarish.  Yet I couldn’t stop reading.
Alexandra Sophia’s prose is mesmerizing, whether describing sexual scenes or a beautiful seascape, where “tiny waves broke in muted applause along the shore, sending up their silver spray like handfuls of pocket change.”  

Near Daneka's cottage on a Danish island in the Baltic Sea there is a description of a forest scene that is one of the most exquisite pieces of writing I have ever come across. “In a clearing of not much more than two or three body lengths in any direction, a bed of velvet-soft moss -- pure Polytrichum -- tiptoed  up to a sheer and jagged granite wall Here and there in the moss carpet tiny poppied peeked through. Map lichen -- Rhizocarpon geographicum -- spotted the granite wall like forests made for Lilliputians. Water dropped down the face of the wall and dripped into a tiny pool. Kit looked into the pool to gauge its depth, but couldn’t discern a bottom. The water was blacker than any black he’d ever known. Emerald green bridal gowns of liverwort -- Conocephalum conicum -- covered trunks of trees surrounding the clearing, while their branches wrestled in wraiths of  Isotherciium stoloniferum, the color and texture of lime-green lace.” Every time I read that passage, I can smell that place and feel its coolness because, enchantingly, I am there.
“Lover From an Icy Sea” is an amazing novel in so many ways. Like life itself, it is also a deeply disturbing one.
A definite 5 star read.

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