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 book 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 gives substance to the line from Pasternak that provides this collection with its title: 'the music in the ice'. In Watson's hands the essay form itself becomes an instance of that music. Here is a book that demonstrates again why Justin Cartwright has called Stephen Watson 'South Africa's foremost essayist'.