Anna Kavan (1901-1968) was born Helen Woods. She began her career writing under her married name Helen Ferguson, publishing six novels. It was only after she had a nervous breakdown that she became Anna Kavan, the protagonist of her 1930 novel Let Me Alone, with an outwardly different persona and a new literary style. Much of her life remains an enigma, but her talent was none the less remarkable, and her works have been compared to that of Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and Franz Kafka. Kavan suffered periodic bouts of mental illness and long-term drug addiction--she had become addicted to heroin in the 1920s and continued to use it throughout her life--and these facets of her life feature prominently in her work. Her widely admired works include Asylum Piece, I Am Lazarus, and Julia and the Bazooka (published posthumously). She died in 1968 of heart failure, soon after the publication of her most celebrated work, Ice.
Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Dissident Gardens, Chronic City, The Fortress of Solitude, and Motherless Brooklyn, and of the essay collection The Ecstasy of Influence, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Lethem's work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and The New York Times, among other publications. Kate Zambreno is the author of the novels Green Girl and O Fallen Angel, as well as two works of experimental nonfiction, Heroines and Book of Mutter. She is at work on a series of books about time, memory, and the persistence of art. She teaches in the writing programs at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University.
"One might become convinced that Kavan had seen the future . . . A half century after its first appearance, Kavan's fever dream of a novel is beginning to seem all too real." -The New Yorker
"Ice is ambitious, unforgettable, and one of a kind. It
demands to be experienced." -The Millions "A writer of
intense imagination.... Slippery, bizarre, and meticulously
written.... A gripping and uniquely strange work of science
fiction." -Kirkus, starred review "One of the most
mysterious of modern writers, Anna Kavan created a uniquely
fascinating fictional world. Few contemporary novelists could match
the intensity of her vision." --J.G. Ballard "There is nothing else
like it." --Doris Lessing "One [of] our greatest and most original
novelists." --The Guardian "I can tell you about some women
writers who truly are fantastic. One is Anna Kavan . . . she's
caught in a haze and then a light, a little teeny light, come
through. It could be a leopard, that light, or it could be a spot
of blood. It could be anything. But she hooks onto that and spirals
out. And she does it within the accessible rhythms of plot, and
that's really exciting. She's not hung up with being a woman, she
just keeps extending herself, keeps telescoping language and plot."
-Patti Smith "Kavan is a brilliant high-modernist writer whose work
has largely fallen by the wayside, and it is truly a blessing that
we have a new version." -The Rumpus
"Brooding, mysterious...a fascinating marriage of the Goth novel with science fiction." --Publishers Weekly "One of the most terrifying postulations of the end of the world." --The Times of London "What a writer, and what a vision. What a perfect book to read in preparation for the end of the world." -Granta "[A] marvelously gifted writer...an abundance of writing that astonishes with poetic brilliance." --Sunday Telegraph "Unique...its incantatory powers move it beyond the scopt of science-fantasy." --Brian Aldiss "Originally and masterfully written." --Columbus Dispatch