The Particular Light In Ice
The Particular Light In Ice is my most recent novel, finished in 2022. It was inspired by a woman who stood behind me in the checkout line at the grocery store on a summer day in 2019. It was midday on a weekday and this woman was wearing silver-threaded jeans and a pair of what looked like diamond studded sneakers. I have a good eye for the cost of things; those sneakers, garish as they were, screamed money. Later that day I did some online research and discovered that Jimmy Choo sold a crystal-studded running shoe, aptly named, The Diamond, for just shy of $5000. The picture on Jimmy Choo’s website matched my memory of the woman’s runners. I wondered, who was that women in the grocery store check-out line going about her normal routine decked out in silver jeans and ‘diamond’ studded sneakers? This novel, The Particular Light In Ice is my answer to that question.
Lily Moreau, billionaire bunker-buyer and demanding mistress of a high-tech country estate, is at war with her neighbour, Django Limberger, over landscaping plans. To Lily, Django is an exasperating, tree-hugging, off-grid, “gypsy”, who lives in a tiny “bit-of-nothing” house the size of her master bathroom. A catastrophic ice storm encases both Lily’s and Django’s world in unyielding ice, downing Lily’s hydro-electric line, stranding her powerless in her mansion, suffering alone and hungry in the freezing darkness. Django’s Christmas lights, powered by wind energy, twinkle across the ice-encrusted expanse of the field that separates their two antagonistic houses. These are the only lights visible to Lily in the frozen darkness. She desperately needs someone’s help. Django is the last person on earth she can ask for it.
The Particular Light In Ice is the story of two warring neighbours forced together by an ice storm.
Read An Excerpt:
“Lily began fumbling about in the pitch black bathroom for her running shoes. They were brand new, Brian’s Christmas gift to her, a pair of Jimmy Choo sneakers encrusted with crystals. These shoes, which cost $4500, were named “Diamond,” because you were supposed to feel as if your tootsies were inserted in a multifaceted stone, with rays of light reflecting off your feet as you sneakered about your day. Lily loved them because (unlike her bejewelled evening shoes) these were appropriate for everyday wear and coordinated perfectly with her silvery jeans.
After a moment of fumble-toeing in the darkness across cold tiles with bare feet, Lily bumped up against her new Choos standing shoulder to shoulder, like miniature besparkled racehorses, beneath one of the frigid heated towel racks. She snugged her ice-cold feet into them and patted the crystals with sincere appreciation. Feeling immeasurably soothed, she bumbled her way back to a window, and this time she was able to reach high enough to tuck the blackout blind above the roller. Undoubtedly it was the extra lift provided by her Choos that had done the trick.
Lily leaned her perfectly aligned hips against the window sill and stared outside. The sun was rising in a clear sky threaded with glimmering tendrils of peach and tufts of dawdling grey. She squinted, trying to make sense of the unexpected view before her. There was her front acreage, as usual—gazebo, trees, driveway, fountain copied from the jardin at Versailles—and yet nothing was as usual. Her new feature trees were crusted in ice and bent nearly double to the ground, as if overnight they had become afflicted with osteoporosis. The fountain, which the gardener had shut down for the winter, was completely dressed in ice as well, with icicles of varying lengths hanging from the mythological critters that rose up from its center. Oh my god, Lily realized, everything outside was coated with ice: her neo-Randian gazebo with its weather vane shaped like a dollar sign, the golf-course lawn, the trees and shrubs, the statement rocks, the Art Nouveau lampposts that lined the Champs-Élysées driveway; even the driveway itself, made of cobblestones imported from an Italian town bankrupted by an earthquake, was glittering icily in the rising sun that now skimmed, hushed and pink across it.
Lily looked for the power line that ran to the house. Icicles, like dribbles of too-thin icing, hung along the entire length of it forming a fringe of ice, causing the power line to sag in silver-white waves. At one point the line sagged all the way to the ground, pulled down by a heavy limb broken from an overhanging maple tree.
There it is, Lily thought with a satisfied bitterness, the cause of my power loss.