The Ice Cream Man

Reading material

English edition
Czech edition
German sample
Finnish edition

Original title: Jäätelökauppias

Published: 2012

Publisher: Tammi

Class/genre: Literary

Pages: 300


EU Prize for Literature winner 2013

A European family chronicle that explores guilt, identity and the lines between fact and fiction.

The Ice -Cream Man
The director of a film entitled The Ice-Cream Man refuses to give an actress a script – only detailed and domineering instructions on what he wants her to do next. Inside the film, a man and a woman pretending to be married hide out in the house of Mrs Nemcova in 1942. The narrative then jumps to Olomouc, where a woman is obsessively attending every screening of The Ice-Cream Man, and later to the Prague dormitory of Jan, a student who receives a visit from his mother. Jan makes his way to Sweden and forms an uneasy relationship with a group of young women whose language or motives he barely understands. Twenty years later Jan’s daughter is travelling in Europe  and becomes absorbed in a series of letters addressed to someone named Milena.


Rights sold: 
Original publisher: FINLAND, Tammi

CROATIA, Naklada Ljevak.
DENMARK, Jensen & Dalgaard
GERMANY, Schenk Verlag
HUNGARY, Typotex
LATVIA, Janis Roze,
SERBIA, Kontrast Izdavastvo
SPAIN, Editorial Bercimuel
TURKEY, Nemesis
WORLD ENGLISH, AmazonCrossing

 “The novel is a reader’s paradise, full of thematic expansions, the most fully developed ones relating to national tensions. Lipson tackles the topic in a similar vein as Sofi Oksanen, in whose hands nationalism and sexual desire became a lethal combination in Purge.”

– Mervi Kantokorpi, Helsingin Sanomat 21.8.2012

“Never before have I read a family chronicle told in such an original way. Even though the plot is basically a simple story about a mother, a son and his daughter, the reading experience is something altogether different; it is a breathtakingly brilliant and skilful depiction of Europeanness…”

– Mari Viertola, Turun Sanomat 1.9.2012

”The stories contained within The Ice Cream Man lead the reader from the past back to the present. The novel is complex enough to hold the reader’s attention to the end. This is a true masterpiece of European literature.”
– Filip Batkoski, editor, Bata Press, Macedonia

”Ms. Lipson’s novel is a shining example of our shared European literary heritage; as a Finnish author she writes vividly about Czech life and experiences in the 1940s. We are very excited about this novel.”
– Vladimir Manigoda, editor, Kontrast Izdavaštvo, Serbia

”It is an honour for us to bring Katri Lipson to the Danish audience. We are excited about The Ice Cream Man, an intelligent and intriguing novel on identity and Europeanness,”
– Jeanne Dalgaard, Publisher, Jensen & Dalgaard, Denmark

”AmazonCrossing is excited to publish Katri Lipson’s innovative novel. The Ice-Cream Man opened my mind to new possibilities in storytelling. The book is at once classic and groundbreaking, and we look forward to bringing it to English-language readers worldwide.”
– Gabriella Page-Fort, Acquiring Editor, AmazonCrossing, US

Lipson’s technique boldly breaks with the supremacy of narrative and calls into question the construction of historical truth.” 
– Books from Finland literary magazine


Katri Lipson

KATRI LIPSON is a medical doctor and prize-winning author, whose clear prose has been compared to that of the Russian masters. Her writing touches on themes of love, hope and despair across different walks of life. Lipson was one of 12 winners of the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature that recognizes new or emerging authors throughout Europe. She has written four novels: Kosmonautti (2008), Jäätelökauppias, (2012) Detroit (2016) Kaikkein haikein leikki (2019).


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