It’s another hot and muggy afternoon in Wichita, which got me thinking about books that feel cold. Not emotionally cold, necessarily, but evocative enough of snow and ice and winter wind to put a chill into even a stifling summer day in the Midwest.
One of the chilliest books I’ve ever read is “Smilla’s Sense of Snow,” written by Peter Hoeg in 1993. Here’s how it starts out:
“It’s freezing –an extraordinary 0 Fahrenheit –and it’s snowing, and in the language that is no longer mine, the snow is ‘qanik’ –big, almost weightless crystals falling in clumps and covering the ground with a layer of pulverized white frost.”
And it doesn’t get any warmer after that. On this August day, I’m wishing I hadn’t loaned that book out. I never did get it back.
How about the other extreme, oppressive heat? One title comes immediately to mind: Robert Wilson’s “The Big Killing,” set in West Africa. Sweat and humidity drip from every page. If you haven’t read it, I’d suggest waiting until sometime next January — or stocking up on cold beer and antiperspirant.
Any other suggestions for books that accomplish climate change all by themselves?