In this collection of essays, Stephen Watson turns to the writers who have endured for him; to the places that have formed him; and always to the nature of writing and literature itself. The range is remarkable: he moves from Leonard Cohen to Dante, from Albert Camus to Allen Ginsberg, not excepting Czeslaw Milosz and T S Eliot. Closer to home, there are essays on Robben Island and the meaning of the Cedarberg. More personally, movingly, a final section of the title returns to the site of a love affair, the birth of a daughter, and what it is that defines his native city, Cape Town. Whatever Watson touches on, he imparts substance to the line from Pasternak that gives this collection its title: 'the music in the ice'. In Watson's hands the essay form itself becomes an instance of that music.