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Above All Things by Tanis Rideout

Above All Things (edition 2013)

by Tanis Rideout

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Title:Above All Things
Authors:Tanis Rideout
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2013), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2013 Early Reviewer

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Above All Things by Tanis Rideout



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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
It is a novel based on the lives of George Mallory and his wife Ruth. It goes through the history of their relationship and marriage, but the main storyline takes place in 1924, when he makes his final attempt to climb Mount Everest. The story shifts back and forth between George on his trek and Ruth back home in England. It details his travel to Tibet and the effort to summit the mountain by him and the other Englishmen making the trek and their local guides and porters. Ruth story mostly takes place on one day in the summer of 1924, maybe the day he died but certainly close to that time. There is generous use of flashbacks to their courtship and early marriage, and other parts of George's life. The book also tells the story of Sandy Irvine, a young mountaineer traveling with George.
Rideout takes some liberties with the known truth, which she explains in the book's Author's Note, and uses her imagination to fill in some of the story which no one can know for sure.
I enjoyed the book. The story is one that I am interested in, and now I am motivated to read some non-fiction about Mallory and early Everest attempts. There is a lot of detail about mountain climbing on Everest, kind of technical but interesting to me. Maybe not for everyone though, but you can skim past those parts if needed. The books you a real feel of what it must have been like to be on the mountain in the 1920's with the then current state of the art climbing equipment. Together with Into This Air, it has eliminated and thought that I have had of climbing Everest or any other similar mountain. ( )
  BillPilgrim | Mar 7, 2014 |

I enjoyed this book about George Mallory's ill-fated final attempt to scale Everest, particularly the scenes towards the end describing his last desperate push towards the summit. The scenes written from the perspective of his long-suffering wife Ruth, left in Cambridge to anxiously await his return, were less successful for me at first. It's hard not to feel a bit bored when you were reading about an exciting mountaineering expedition and suddenly find yourself sitting on the floor of George's study with Ruth, listlessly sorting through papers and worrying about why the servants don't seem to like you. But I did feel that Ruth became a more sympathetic character as the book went on, and by the end I was fully invested in her story as well as George's.

I really appreciated that Rideout has an Author's Note in which she describes some of the liberties she took with history (which includes at least one pretty big alteration). I was disappointed, though, that when she says you can visit her website for "a further discussion of fact versus fiction", she doesn't mean that she goes into further detail about her approach to Mallory's story. Instead there's a short general essay on her website about the role of fact versus fiction in historical novels. Not really what I wanted! ( )
  mrlzbth | Feb 6, 2014 |
What drives a person to do incredible feats is an important question about the human condition. Why does a person do a certain task when it seems impossible to do. How do the people feel around that person while he/she is trying to accomplish the impossible? And what occurs in the mind of that person if he/she should happen to fail to reach that goal? That is some of the important points Tanis Rideout explores in her brilliant novel Above All Things.

my complete review ( )
  steven.buechler | Jan 23, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Above All Things tells the story of Sir George Mallory's third attempt to climb Mount Everest - and the woes and heartbreak of the wife he left behind. The narrative is split between George and his wife, Ruth. George's sections were high flying, adventurous tales, while Ruth's sections show her aching desire to be with her husband again and the tedium of her life.

This is a book that would make a great movie - if for nothing else than the spectacular scenery that would be part of the film. I wasn't blown away by Tanis Rideout's writing, but I found the book to be pleasant enough for a quick read. Having known about the fate of this expedition before I read it may have added a "spoiler" element to the story (almost liking waiting for the proverbial pot to boil). So, if you know nothing about Hillary's expeditions, then don't research them before you dive into this book.

Recommended for readers who enjoy light but well-told stories of love, adventure and heartbreak. ( )
  mrstreme | Jan 8, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really liked this book. I loved the way she took history and spun a somewhat fictional novel around it. It was like hearing a story told through generations for 100 years. It kept me interested and in suspense, as to whether or not they made it and what would happen when he came home. I really liked this book and would recommend reading it. ( )
  jlouise77 | Oct 5, 2013 |
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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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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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