A majestic reconciliation story.” — Publishers Weekly

Piece Of Heaven

THE ICE HOUSE, Grove Press, Coming December 5, 2017. Design by Gretchen Mergenthaler.

From a writer who’s been praised for her “intelligence, heart, wit” (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls), The Ice House is the picaresque, heartrending tale of a man on the verge of losing his livelihood and of losing forever his relationship with his only son.  

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.


“The Ice House is a tour de force that sweeps readers into a symphony of powerfully drawn characters, all of whom have been wounded in ways that both cripple and embolden them. This novel is an intercontinental family saga and an exploration of blue-collar life, but at its core it’s a very a good novel that asks us to consider the lengths we’ll go to in order to save the things that matter most: a company, a loved one, ourselves.” —Wiley Cash, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy.

 “The Ice House offers all the pleasures of the novel—robust characters we worry about and root for, a story that deepens and intrigues, language that charms and surprises, and even some rare and welcome humor. It does all this in a setting unusual to a novel—the world of work, in this case, a family ice making business in Florida. How does Laura Lee Smith keep that small, cold world so large and ardent hearted? The Ice House is a marvel of a novel.” —Beth Ann Fennelly, Novelist, Essayist, and Poet Laureate of Mississippi




Praise for Heart of Palm:

 “Incandescent.”—O, the Oprah Magazine 

“A knockout . . . [Smith] creates a vivid sense of place.”—Tampa Bay Times

“A heaping dose of Southern soul with a whole lot of chutzpah thrown in.”—Atlanta Journal Constitution

Laura Lee Smith is the author of the novel Heart of Palm. Her short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories; New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best; New England Review; and other journals. She lives in Florida.

BASS    HeartofPalmCoverArt-FINAL    NewStories



2013 Silver Medalist, Florida Book Awards


2014 Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novel Award Semifinalist

Long-listed, 2014 Maine Reader’s Choice Award

Short-listed, 2014 Crook’s Corner Book Prize

“Intelligence, heart, wit…Laura Lee Smith has all the tools and Heart of Palm is a very impressive first novel.” — Richard Russo, winner, 2002 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Heart of Palm is Smith’s first novel, and it’s a knockout…She’s a welcome addition to the ranks of Florida writers.” — Tampa Bay Times.

“In the end — which comes with a delightful twist — the guilty pleasure of Heart of Palm is its steadfast tangle of rage and grief and love, a heaping dose of Southern soul with a whole lot of chutzpah thrown in.” — Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“…will stay with the reader long after turning the last page.” — New York Journal of Books.

“Reminiscent of the works of John Irving…with its very dark sense of humor..an engrossing and enjoyable read. — Library Journal.