Title: Above All Things
Description: Novelized account of the explorer George Mallory and his wife Ruth as George begins his third attempt on Mount Everest in the 1920’s.
Review source: This was a book group book.
Plot: Rideout is fairly limited with the plot, since she follows the historical account closely.
Characters: When an author’s hands are tied in terms of plot, the reader expects a lot from characterization, and here Rideout doesn’t disappoint. She gives us a sense both of what it was like for Ruth to be left at home with three small children and for George, who had failed twice and was determined to succeed on the third attempt.
Writing style: The novel alternates between Ruth’s and George’s story, though George’s spans months, and Ruth’s is basically one long day as she waits for news. This creates a nice effect, as we experience the sense with Ruth that time drags and that every day is the same, while for George, time is the one thing he doesn’t have; when the monsoon hits, the window of opportunity will close.
Audience: This is literary fiction, but readers of historical fiction and those who enjoy accounts of adventure should also like this book.Wrap-up: There’s a different experience in reading a book when you already know how it will end. The journey is even more important, and Rideout more than meets expectations here. 5/5*.