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A Season of Fire and Ice [Paperback]

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Item description for A Season of Fire and Ice by Lloyd Zimpel...

From the heartlands of the 1880s Upper Midwest comes a morality tale of survival and destiny.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   230
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.1" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2007
Publisher   Unbridled Books
ISBN  1932961364  
ISBN13  9781932961362  

Availability  0 units.

More About Lloyd Zimpel

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Lloyd Zimpel was born and raised in the Upper Midwest. He now lives in San Francisco, where for many years he worked for the California Fair Employment Practice Commission. He is the recipient of an NEA fiction fellowship and the author of a previous novel, Meeting the Bear, as well as numerous short stories.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Men's Adventure
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Westerns > General

Reviews - What do customers think about A Season of Fire and Ice?

"How long can we live the frigid life, each day more icily daunting than the one before?"  Dec 9, 2007
When homesteader Leo Biedermann arrives in the plains of South Dakota in January,1882, during the most severe weather the area has seen in years, he immediately begins building his house and barn, stocking the farm with cattle and horses, and planning his crops. Though he is not friendly, the other homesteaders help their neighbor when he needs machinery or a helping hand, and wish him well. When the first crops are harvested at the end of Biedermann's first summer, Biedermann has the largest crop of all.

Told through the journal of Gerhardt Praeger, a long-term settler, the story of Biedermann and his relationships with the other homesteaders unfolds. Biedermann is a difficult man who travels with two ferocious dogs, and Praeger's first meeting with him has not been ideal. Over the course of five years, Biedermann miraculously prospers, through drought (during which he alone finds water on his property), floods which spare most of his fields, blizzards, and plagues of grasshoppers which bypass his land. Every other homesteader is devastated.

This brutally realistic picture of life on the plains, in many ways a morality tale, honors the strength and stamina of the homesteaders in the face of terrible trials, but it is also a tribute to the values of these men and women, who share whatever they have, help each other, and never give up hope. Biedermann's success does stir secretly held feelings of jealousy, but these busy men and women often blame their own pride for the fact that they are not rewarded by God. Until, that is, Praeger's son Harris, with whom Biedermann has an argument, takes matters into his own hands and brings a devastating climax that Biedermann could never have expected.

The narrative achieves excitement through the alternation of Praeger's journal with Interleaves reflecting other points of view and describing past history and present challenges--family backgrounds, the outbreak of a prairie fire, and various climatic disasters. Though the title can be considered in its literal sense--the prairie fires, blizzards, and bitter cold on the plains--it is also symbolic of the extremes of temperament which one sees between the fiery Harris and the icy Biedermann. Religious symbols pervade the novel--the fires of hell, miracles and the lack of miracles, pride as the cardinal sin.

Since religion is as much a part of the homesteaders' reality as the sun and the rain, this symbolism complements author Lloyd Zimpel's crystalline prose, his almost biblical cadences, and the vibrant reality of the setting. Elegant and formal, with its universal themes, its focus on a unique time and place, its broad vision of humanity with all its glories and faults, and its lack of artifice and sentimentality, this 2006 novel already feels like an established classic. n Mary Whipple

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