Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Ice House

by Laura Lee Smith

From a writer of wry humor and warmth, The Ice House is the picaresque, heartrending tale of a man on the verge of losing his livelihood and his relationship with his only son.

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 464
  • Publication Date December 05, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2708-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $25.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date December 05, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-8931-8
  • US List Price $25.00

About the Book

Laura Lee Smith is a writer who’s been praised for her “intelligence, heart, [and] wit” (Richard Russo). Her new novel The Ice House follows the beleaguered MacKinnons as they weather the possible closing 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 readers will not soon forget. It firmly establishes Laura Lee Smith as a gifted voice in American fiction.

Tags Literary


The island of Iona was a chaos of greens and blues. The waters shone so clear and silver it hurt Johnny’s eyes to look, and the machair grasslands spread along the coastline and up the hills. They walked the beach at Martyr’s Bay and ate bread and cheese, and an apple Johnny had brought in his jacket pocket.

Then Johnny took Corran and they hiked their way up across a rough, scraping hill toward a high plateau from which they could see almost the entire island of Iona and great rocky Mull to the east. Johnny pointed out across the sea.

“Florida,” he said to Corran. “America. It’s right over there.”

“I can’t see it,” Corran said.

“It’s a bit of a ways,” Johnny admitted. “But it’s there. It’s where I’ll be for a bit, aye? And I’ll come to see you soon. And you’ll come over there, too.”

Corran looked at him somberly. “I don’t want you to go,” he said.

“Och, now,” Johnny said. He felt his throat closing. He put his hand on Corran’s head.

“Will you come back?” Corran said.

“I will,” Johnny said.

Corran’s face was flushed pink and damp with sweat, though the winds atop the hill were bitter cold. He’d worked so hard to get to the top, that little bairn, so stubborn, his little legs so sturdy. He wouldn’t let Johnny carry him, and Johnny had never seen anything as beautiful as that sovereign little boy. Nobody else had a boy like that.

Author Tour Dates



Palm Beach, FL

215 Royal Poinciana Way



Jacksonville, FL

“Story, Story, Story: How to Create a Compelling Narrative Structure”
Jacksonville Public Library, Main Branch



Tallahassee, FL
April 13-15

Cascades Park