Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"An Ice Cream War" by William Boyd

This book sat on my shelf for a couple of years. I think my mother read it with her book club. Then my sister read it while she was visiting, and so with no one else to give it to, my mother left it with me, saying "You might not like it." I started it while I was at karate camp. One of the black belts came up to me and asked what I was reading. I showed the cover and said it was about WWI in Africa, and he seemed impressed. He went on and on about how interesting it was that I was reading a book about war, and he'd like to read it when I'm done. And I finished it while we were camping, and gave it to Ed, who had finished the book he was reading (something about clans and the giant walking, fighting machines they ride in and the far future where humanity has divided into two streams). He finished it also, so we've gotten our money's worth out of this one.

The book is about WWI in Africa, and written in that British self-effacing style, very funny. That's probably why I could read it. There were sections where people walked around with guns and did strategic stuff, but perhaps not enough to appeal to my black-belt friend. More there were scenes where people coerced other people into doing things that weren't in their own best interests, and giving people poor advice, and debauching. There was some spying, and lots of grissly death.

The most frustrating thing about this book was that I never "got" the title. I went online trying to find out what the title meant, and eventually found a website that said something about fighting a war in Africa, the british were going to melt like ice cream. In the process of gleaning that, I read many reviews of the book and other books by Mr. Boyd, and apparently this isn't his best work. A lot of the reviews online were sort of the same which I found interesting, as if people can't come up with original reviews very often. That's sad. many of them referred to WWI in Africa as "a war they continued after the Armistice because no one told them to stop" which wasn't exactly my impression. I mean, maybe they kept fighting for a day or two, but that happens when there's a world war and poor communications, right?

And then my August issue of Fashion came in the mail, and it had a one-page article about him, talking about his newest book which just came out. Dunno if I'll read it.

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