Friday, May 08, 2015

ICE COLD: a German Crime Novel

Andrea Maria Schenkel's ICE COLD is a short book--a quick read--and yet the sort of book that one cannot forget, since instead of immersing a reader comfortably in an obviously fictitious universe, Schenkel creates the kind of discomfort that a reader can normally ignore merely by observing the barrier between reality and fiction. However, Schenkel presents the novel as a sort of case file, with differing viewpoints of serial rapes and killings--viewpoints so grim in their stark reality that there is no escaping from the implications about human nature and the abnormal psyche.

In addition, the grimness and poverty of 1930s Germany casts a bleak tone over the novel before the crimes even begin, and young Kathie, the character central to the action, has an unenviable life no matter what her surroundings.

Schenkel's novel is not a mystery as much as it is a crime novel, and these are dark, explicit crimes, set in a Germany which bears the burden of its own escalating immorality.