CHRISTOPHER RICE — DESIRE & ICE — A MACKENZIE FAMILY NOVELLA — 2016
Apart from the pun on the name of the author , which is rather nice but also easy, vice excluded though you may think it is included, this novella has great qualities.
Not as a thriller because the plot is rather simple and manichaeistic in facts like two people having their heads run over by their own four wheel drive SUV in a snow tempest: it sounds like Titus Andronicus by Shakespeare. They must have done it on purpose. Or they are really as dumb as every finger on both my hands and every toe on both my feet. Dumber than I you die for sure and will end up in the family meat spread for Thanksgiving celebrations in “Corpse Bride” or “Beetlejuice.”
Not as a storm story because the blizzard is rather tame and not that long. For Montana it is nearly an August snow storm. Could do better, God of all weathers, and we do not even come close to a “Storm of the Century,” and that one was only in Martha’s Vineyard. The demented elements do not seem to be able to force our heroes to eat the leather soles of their shoes like Charlie Chaplin was compelled to do once.
Not even as a romance of passion and hatred, of sacrifice and extermination. Easy indeed with the Russian-led car stealing mafia if not cartel! Easy indeed with the FBI arresting the biggies and leaving the underlings free. Easy also when the underlings are trying to loot each other’s loot expecting the FBI to let them go out of the country with bags full of cash. And strangely enough they nearly did it though a bad snow storm in Montana delaying the flights in LAX, Southern California after all, seems a little bit dubious and far-fetched as the reason why the FBI finally managed to arrest the two running underlings. The other non-running ones will get their heads run over by their own four wheel drive SUV. That’s subtle!
But it is a masterpiece as for sensual and erotic romance of a high school student (from 14 to 18, hence underage at he time) finally realizing his dream with his ex-English teacher some four or five years later (and thus of age of course now and he even has condoms in his bedside nightstand: well-prepared kid indeed). Explicit lyrics generously provided free of censorship but covered with some modesty. Erogenous descriptions will titillate the most bashful among you readers from under their feet up to wherever your bashfulness will authorize. And since the author is gay he is both able to describe the pleasure of the woman (more than common in standard literature, both dominated and dominating: that’s the advantage of being gay since you can try both sides of the coin), and that of the man (which is generally only found in very marginal literature like Charles Bukowski’s eruptive howling and gay more or less pornographic literature with or without pictures and videos).
But understand me well. This erotic masterpiece could not be that effective without the very original style of Christopher Rice. He manages to softly include in his language some sweet version of the teenage SMS’s of a pubescent Linguo, the certified language correcting robot directly imported from the Simpsons to this novella, even if Linguo is dead, because it is the linguistic master mixing up language and tongue of all emerging voraciously lustful male and female erupting from any child around the age of 13. Linguo may be dead but SMS grammar and smiley syntax are all the more active in the subductive impulses of today’s youth and in the older individuals who try to sound and look younger than they are.
Some sentences are thus at times reverberant with the language, syntax and lexicon included, of another age than life in Surrender (that’s a remarkable name for a town like this one: police work or master-slave phantasm?), Montana, a 3,000 soul city somewhere in Brokeback Mountain that would not in any way ride bareback, and in this city there are more cows than human beings of course, ghosts included. So let us ride the mechanical bull in some fishy, shady and unsavory saloon.
You can easily read this masterpiece in one evening and implement some practical experiments if your lover is around. With a little bit of elaboration on the LA crime scene it could become an episode in some CSI or Criminal Minds episode with a romantic twist and some greyish shade. Apart from that titillating appeal the novella is entertainingly simple and direct: do not imagine any complexity in the minds of the two main characters. They think the same way a cow and a bull may think in a pasture on a hot summer morning.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU