Richard Van Scotter’s first novel is woven from classroom and sports venues through the lives of students in 1956-57, who struggle to make sense of the complex, contradictory society that emerges during a formative period. The three seasons—autumn, winter, and spring—of the school year frame a setting for the drama that unfolds.
This story takes readers back to a time and environment that nurtured much more than the “Silent Generation.” The era was a gateway to excesses in sports, commercialism, and lifestyles. It also sowed the seeds for heightened social awareness. This happens, as Van Scotter lays bare, where schools and communities value the educative life.
The author seldom strays far from his learned background, reminding readers that history can be an awakening and the life of reflection is indispensable.
“Thin Ice” is a poignant metaphor for the cultural environment we inherit and are challenged to comprehend. It’s also a story that offers readers a deeper understanding of the central purpose
of our schools, particularly those charged with preparing the nation’s teachers. —H. Michael Hartoonian, retired professor, University of Minnesota