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Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
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Above All Things (edition 2013)

by Tanis Rideout

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2344749,595 (3.86)60
Member:speedy74
Title:Above All Things
Authors:Tanis Rideout
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2013), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:2013, fiction, adventure, Everest, historical fiction

Work details

Above All Things by Tanis Rideout

  1. 00
    Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both are about the ascent to the top of Mount Everest - one is fiction; the other is non-fiction,
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*Spoilers - if you don't know anything about the history of climbing Mt. Everest

[Tanis Rideout] has written a novel that highlights the cost of climbing Everest. She details what George Mallory and others were giving up in order to be the first to summit Mount Everest. As the story switches from the efforts of the men on the mountain back to the family they have waiting at home, particularly Mallory's wife and children in England, that contrast heightens the drama and intensifies the sense of loss. Rideout writes beautifully and tells the story of Mallory's determination so well that even though I knew the end of the story, there were times when I still thought he'd make it.
I find stories about climbing Everest both compelling and horrifying. Compelling because of the courage and skill and effort and drama that naturally attend such adventures. Horrifying because of the cost, and because I really do not understand that level of acceptable sacrifice. I don't think my levels of acceptable sacrifice were that high even before I had children, but after? Absolutely not. This was an excellent story. Highly recommended.
  nittnut | Mar 3, 2015 |
I loved this book. A captivating character study as well as a complex and multi-themed novel. It's very well-written, and I couldn't put it down. I don't know why it hasn't gotten more attention. Highly recommended. ( )
  vivaval | Feb 20, 2015 |
This is a terrific, compelling debut novel which tells the story of George Mallory's obsessive desire to be the first man to summit Mount Everest. For those readers who were blown away by Jon Krakauer's nonfiction book Into Thin Air, Rideout's novel is the very next book you should read. It goes back to the 1920's when Great Britain wanted to claim the victory of having the first man to reach the top of Mount Everest. Many British climbers desired that as well, but George Mallory seemed to want to make this conquest more than anyone else and despite all odds.

This story is told in alternate chapters between the team who are mounting the conquest of the summit and George's family and friends who await his return. Based on years of research, this novel does take some literary variances but none in any way which would interfere with the believability or enjoyment of the story.

Take a chance on this novel. It will leave you breathless...literally! ( )
  SqueakyChu | Feb 6, 2015 |
"When I was small I imagined love as something safe, something without sharp edges, only the sweeping, enveloping curves of romance and happiness. But it isn't. Not now, anyway. There are edges and they cut."

"Above All Things" is the story of George and Ruth Mallory. He was a British explorer, long debated to have been the first (with Sandy Irvine) to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1924. She was his wife and the mother of his three children. Told from the points of view of multiple characters, the book mixes historical fact with fiction and speculation that comes together to create perfection.

In 1924, George Mallory is heading back to Everest for a third time. The last time, he promises Ruth, who is heartbroken by his decision to leave her and their children once again. But for as much as he loves Ruth and their three children, George loves the mountain. Well, maybe love isn't the right word. He is taken by her; obsessed with her and the prospect of reaching the summit - a height that no man had ever been to. After two failed attempts, George views this opportunity as his last hope -- his last chance.
Back at their home in Cambridge, the story Ruth tells unfolds over the course of one day in her life; one day in her existence without the man who she loves and craves and longs to be with. And who she feels abandoned by.

I was worried that the novel would would be overly technical when describing the the climb, but author Tanis Rideout does a really great job of painting the picture of the climb and the attempt to reach the summit in the language of someone who has never set foot on a mountain; and an even more outstanding job of portraying the humanity of each character.

Since the outcome of the 1924 attempt to summit Everest is historical fact, I don't bad about including the "spoiler" that Sandy Irvine and George Mallory disappeared on that climb. In fact, Mallory's body was just recently found by some climbers on Everest. (Sandy Irvine has never been found.) Regardless, I felt the loss and the heartbreak in Rideout's novel, and I cried at the end. The narrative in enveloping, the characters are tangible and accessible and the story is 100% unforgettable. Absolutely one of the very best books I've read all year.
I need to return the book to the library, but I'm reluctant to part with the novel and the story. And I'm eager to read more about the Mallory and Irvine expedition. The fact that Tanis Rideout's novel has pushed me toward seeking out nonfiction is truly saying something; it's not my favorite genre to read and I don't do it often. Regardless, you need to check out this book! I promise to return mine to the library so that other people can discover the story and the first novel from this author. ( )
  Jenna.Czaplewski | Jul 3, 2014 |
Okay, so I will admit right off the bat that Tanis Rideout's "Above All Things" isn't in my typical genre. I'll acknowledge that it was probably an uphill battle from the start in terms of my liking it. I ultimately decided to pick up the book when a friend recommended it, knowing of my obsession with mountaineering literature.

That was probably part of this book's undoing for me. I've read a ton of stories about Everest expeditions and plenty about Mallory and Irvine. Rideout's characterization of them doesn't match mine (& I'm sure she did plenty of research so I'm not saying my thoughts are more valid than hers.) George Mallory came across so thoroughly unlikeable in this book, I couldn't help but wonder why anyone would climb with him, let alone marry him.

I was also put off by the novel's opening scene, which was just so contrived... I nearly stopped reading right there.

Rideout certainly writes well and probably, I would have liked this novel more if it weren't about Everest. ( )
  amerynth | May 31, 2014 |
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Book description
Above All Things is a heart-wrenchingly romantic historical novel by Tanis Rideout, based on British mountaineer George Mallory's fatal attempt to climb Everest, and his wife Ruth, who is left at home, waiting for him to return to her. In the Himalayas two climbers strike out for the summit of the Earth's highest mountain - aiming to be the first to the top, and reclaim a little of Britain's lost glory. In Cambridge, a wife collects the milk, gets three children out of bed and waits for a letter, a telegram - for news of her husband. It is 1924 and after months of setbacks and failures, George Mallory and Andrew "Sandy" Irvine are attempting to be the first to conquer Everest. Alone on the mountain they struggle against inhuman cold, violent winds, thin air - but climbing, putting one foot falteringly after another, they reach for the cloud-shrouded peak. At home Ruth Mallory goes about her day; visiting friends and comforting children she longs for news of George. She considers her marriage - the passion, the fights, the bitter absences, the loving reunions, all the snatched moments during the war and between expeditions. She hides her doubts and the uncertainty about the future with or - god forbid - without him. A powerful, moving story of a husband driven to extraordinary lengths by his ambition and a wife terrified she will lose him to a cruel and pitiless rival, Above All Things is a timeless story of one of the great tragedies - and love stories - of the last century.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0771076355, Hardcover)

The Paris Wife meets Into Thin Air in this breathtaking debut novel of obsession and divided loyalties, which brilliantly weaves together the harrowing story of George Mallory's ill-fated 1924 attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest, with that of a single day in the life of his wife as she waits at home in England for news of his return.
 
A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, Above All Things moves seamlessly back and forth between the epic story of Mallory's legendary final expedition and a heartbreaking account of a day in the life of Ruth Mallory. Through George's perspective, and that of the newest member of the climbing team, Sandy Irvine, we get an astonishing picture of the terrible risks taken by the men on the treacherous terrain of the Himalaya. But it is through Ruth's eyes that a complex portrait of a marriage emerges, one forged on the eve of the First World War, shadowed by its losses, and haunted by the ever-present possibility that George might not come home.

Drawing on years of research, this powerful and beautifully written novel is a timeless story of desire, redemption, and the lengths we are willing to go for honour, glory, and love.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Blending historical facts with imaginative fiction, interweaves the story of George Mallory's ill-fated 1924 attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest and a single day in the life of his wife as she waits at home in England for news of his return.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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