I love sweeping family dramas and Laura Lee Smith's The Ice House shares the story of the MacKinnons which encompasses mid-life health issues, family business troubles, a son with a drug problem and all the interesting nuances that being human and aging brings to the forefront. Smith knows how to weave a compelling tale and I enjoyed this one to the very end.— Rachel Watkins
“Laura Lee Smith continues to impress with her second novel, The Ice House. It's a lovely story full of heart and wry humor that manages to convey life in all its rich, messy, tragic wonder. Johnny MacKinnon has it good but seems to be on the verge of losing it all. The ice company he runs in Florida is in trouble with OSHA, and then he discovers that he may have a brain tumor. While he is supposed to be taking it easy as he waits to find out the diagnosis, Johnny decides he must try to mend his estranged relationship with his son in Scotland and with the granddaughter he's never met. The result is a touching, funny, heartbreaking ride you won't soon forget.”
— Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS
From a writer who's been praised for her "intelligence, heart, wit" (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls), The Ice House follows the beleaguered MacKinnons as they weather the possible loss of the family business, a serious medical diagnosis, and the slings and arrows of familial discord.
Johnny MacKinnon might be on the verge of losing it all. The ice factory he married into, which he's run for decades, is facing devastating OSHA fines following a mysterious accident and may have to close. The only hope for Johnny's livelihood is that someone in the community saw something, but no one seems to be coming forward. He hasn't spoken to his son Corran back in Scotland since Corran's heroin addiction finally drove Johnny to the breaking point.
And now, after a collapse on the factory floor, it appears Johnny may have a brain tumor. Johnny's been ordered to take it easy, but in some ways, he thinks, what's left to lose? This may be his last chance to bridge the gap with Corran - and to have any sort of relationship with the baby granddaughter he's never met.
Witty and heartbreaking by turns, The Ice House is a vibrant portrait of multifaceted, exquisitely human characters that listeners will not soon forget. It firmly establishes Laura Lee Smith as a gifted voice in American fiction.