While my town dries out of record-setting, epic flooding from Hurricane Irene, let me ask you:
What’s your book with weather events? Hurricanes? Tornadoes? Blizzards? Real? Fiction? Doesn’t matter … weather comes up a lot in books, so there’s got to be a favorite somewhere, huh?
Well, it’s not as dramatic as those, but freezing weather. Specifically, characters forced to survive in freezing weather, especially if they have to flee across a frozen tundra. I first encountered this in The Left Hand of Darkness, which still captivates me to this day, and I’ve seen it in Graceling (as hardy Katsa tries to get little Bitterblue across just such a landscape for very important reasons) and, to a certain extent, in The Secret History, as Richard, too proud to go home or beg off his rich friends (who all think he’s on their socioeconomic level), spends a New England winter in a warehouse with a hole in the roof.
I don’t know why this is, other than that I like warm and hot weather (I am from the South, come on) and haven’t really experienced truly freezing weather. But as a fictional landscape, it forces the characters to strip themselves down to their very core; you can’t bring much and you’re driven to the edge of your stamina and strength.