Ice Cream by Helen Dunmore

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Subtle and delicate as the sweet confection of its title" (The Independent), this beautiful collection from one of England's most revered writers explores friendship, regret, mysterious passions, and the intense pleasure of ice cream. As in her acclaimed novels The Siege and A Spell of Winter, world-class storyteller Helen Dunmore shows us with subtlety and humor precisely who her characters are and why we should care for them. In each taut, agile tale, they grow to surprise, concern, and move us as they negotiate situations that are often both mundane and bizarre: a cafeteria cook confronts her Polish pen pal in a meeting that is unexpectedly intense; a divorced mother gains insight from a parking meter; a boastful writer is put in his place in spectacular fashion; and in a chilling future, conception is ruthlessly controlled by the government. In several stories a soulful, curious woman named Ulli takes up residence in the reader's imagination -- stumbling across a strangely magnetic collector of religious icons, contemplating a youthful pregnancy, and remembering a troubled lover. In Ice Cream, Dunmore reveals both her poet's ear for the concise and piercing potentialities of language and the novelist's ambition of scope.

About Helen Dunmore

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HELEN DUNMORE is a novelist, a short story writer, and a poet. She has written twenty-two children's books, including Brother Brother, Sister Sister; The Lilac Tree; The Seal Cove; and the bestselling Ingo series. She has written nine adult books including A Spell of Winter, which won the 1996 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her poetry collections have won the Poetry Society's Alice Hunt Bartlett Award and the Signal Poetry Award. Helen Dunmore was born in Yorkshire, England, and now lives in Bristol with her husband and children. Visit her online at
Published January 1, 2000 by Viking. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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These stories pale, however, next to the normalcy and romantic subtlety of “My Polish Teacher’s Tie,” which involves a modest half-Polish school cafeteria worker and her pen pal, a poet and teacher from Poland who comes to England for a visit.

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The Guardian

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Ice Cream Helen Dunmore Viking, £15.99, 218pp Buy it at BOL Helen Dunmore excels at dysfunctional family thrillers: transportative, page-turning, up-till-three, miss-your-stop novels rich in dark secrets, incestuous kin and unflinching physical immediacy.

Apr 15 2000 | Read Full Review of Ice Cream

Publishers Weekly

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Dunmore's touch is light, but her stories slice through her readers' defenses like laser beams.

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Book Reporter

"The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife," one of the best stories in the book, presents us with a man in mourning whose conversation with himself becomes our lens for a woman's hard, isolated, sturdy life: "Slowly, methodically, he would climb the lighthouse tower, toward the light, thinking of her.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Ice Cream

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