Having done “The Brothers Karamazov” we felt like we didn’t want to leave the terrain of grand dialogues and significant discussions about the state of the modern world. This explains why we decided to reach for a great contemporary narration, the novel “Ice” by Jacek Dukaj. Writing in a fascinating style, sparkling with brilliant dialogue somewhere between the world of Brzozowski and the one of Dostoyevsky, Jacek Dukaj follows a crazy idea of Tadeusz Kotarbiński “to change the course of the past”. This is how he tells this story.
It’s 1924. After the explosion of the Tunguska meteorite the entire world is now covered with ice. History has frozen. Strange ice formations called “Lute” have appeared on Earth. Poland remains under Russian occupation. Somewhere far away in Siberia Piłsudski is blowing up trains. The reality is divided between two competing parties: those who are the advocates of ice and those who want to melt it to get the old world back. The main protagonist, Benedykt Gierosławski, a failed philosopher, logician, mathematician, and notorious gambler is hired by the Ministry of Winter to travel to Siberia with a mission to find his father, who had been sent there years ago. Together they will defrost the world. We will get on The Trans-Siberian Railway and we will experience many dangerous adventures together and witness numerous great discussions that follow in the spirit of the grand 19th century Russian intellectual debates.