Brother in Ice
Longlisted for 2020 International Dublin Literary Award
Longlisted for the 2019 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation
‘She thought that it was precisely when things get uncomfortable or can’t be shown that something interesting comes to light. That is the point of no return, the point that must be reached, the point you reach after crossing the border of what has already been said, what has already been seen. It’s cold out there.’
This hybrid novel—part research notes, part fictionalised diary, and part travelogue—uses the stories of polar exploration to make sense of the protagonist’s own concerns as she comes of age as an artist, a daughter, and a sister to an autistic brother. Conceptually and emotionally compelling, it advances fearlessly into the frozen emotional lacunae of difficult family relationships. Deserved winner of multiple awards upon its Catalan and Spanish publication, Brother in Ice is a richly rewarding journey into the unknown.Read an Excerpt
- If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before 9 October 2017, you would have received a first edition copy of the book – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to five other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.
- As well as winning prizes for her writing, Alicia Kopf is also a prize-winning visual artist. Visit her website here.
- You can read a great interview between author Alicia Kopf and translator Mara Faye Lethem, featured on Bomb Magazine here.
'The prose here is staccato and poetic'
‘A writer, Kopf shows us, is a kind of polar explorer . . . From the outset the narrative establishes its twin points of reference: the north and south poles . . . But Kopf gradually collapses every binary she sets up; the poles are not fixed, but drift with the ice.’
'This is fast, fluid, exciting narrative; random, philosophical, alive, questioning, full of precise set pieces, sensations, regret, emotion, self-doubt, defiance, curiosity and a feel for history, fact and human behaviour . . . BROTHER IN ICE is a living book and one to give your most discerning friends.'
Wall Street Journal
‘In Brother in Ice . . . a composite of capsule history, essays and fictionalized memoir . . . something tangible and significant is forged from nothingness.’
‘A fresh and invigorating read.’
The Story of Things podcast
'Brother in Ice is actually a culmination of Alicia Kopf's art exhibitions. Prose weaves around line drawings, archival photos and diary entries, creating a style of writing that reassesses the seemingly arid and barren landscapes of frozen climes to instead encompass what Kopf describes as "live beings with voluptuous, nourishing forms".'
‘Kopf’s novel is enigmatic and playful…imaginative structure and strong, candid prose.’
Politics and Prose
‘Kopf’s ingenious book is a beguiling, shimmering, shifting landscape that draws you in even as it blurs and finally eludes definition.’
‘A lyrical, braided book, that would sit comfortably alongside the auto-fiction of Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti, or the non-fiction of Leslie Jamison, blending reportage with the personal.’
‘As intriguing and open-to-interpretation as it is unclassifiable, Brother in Ice is halfway between essay, auto-fiction, historical treatise, aesthetic discourse and the logbook of an explorer discovering the source of her discomfort.’
‘An intently self-aware, honest and personal mix of autofiction and natural history that's as insightful as it is ambitious.’
Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan
‘In an epistolic, polar update of Melville's Moby-Dick, Alicia Kopf's genre-defying book rises as clear and cold as an Arctic sea, floating with ideas that, like icebergs, are buoyed up by meaning and memory below their surface. This is an icy dissection of actuality and history, a frozen etymology of meaning. Slipping from Catalunya to the Ultima Thule, echoing a rapidly changing environment, Brother in Ice deals in personal retrieval and magical supposition in the whiteness of a disappearing world. In the process, it achieves a fugitive poetry all of its own.’
Enrique Vila-Matas, author of The Illogic of Kassel
‘In another country this book would have changed the course of history.’
Agustín Fernández Mallo, author of Nocilla Dream
‘As if by sleight of hand, Kopf displays a wide range of emotions before us. Like the Poles, they are constantly shifting, and inevitably epic.’
'An unconventional look at a world that makes [Kopf] feel uncomfortable . . . a text in which the feats of polar explorers give way to a central autobiographical story about the equally harsh and arid trips through family relationships and within oneself.’
‘Simultaneously serious and light, incidental and yet transcendental.’
‘A book, part essay and part autobiography, that is also a chronicle of a generation stalled in a world without horizons or certainties . . . An unusual book and the deserving winner of the Premi Documenta literary award.’