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Above All Things Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241965446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241965443
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,105,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I thought this was one of the best historical fiction novels I've read in recent years.
Nia Anderson
Lyrically beautiful and profound, as well as masterfully researched, this novel should appeal to fans of historical fiction and adventure stories.
Kim Overstreet
Felt like you were climbing with them. liked seeing the family brought into the picture as they always get left out of "hero" type stories.
Paula S Knill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At the outset I have to say I am an Everest aficionado. I read and see everything Everest, and read all the books many times. Mallory was and is a hero to many. This book of fiction is an homage to him in some ways. But, I must let you know at the start, that this is indeed a fictional account, and it does not follow the history we know. It takes great liberties to give George Mallory's wife, Ruth,a voice in the life of George and his last climb.

From all accounts, George and Ruth Mallory had a great love affair. Ruth understood his need to climb the mountain, the first two times. The third time, she was not happy, he had promised never to climb again. Their goodbyes were filled with love, but not as much understanding. After all, Ruth was left at home for months at a time to deal with daily life and their children. She became a single mother, not on her own terms.

This novel is told from Ruth's perspective, all in one day. Filled with flashbacks and with the words of George ad his colleagues as they readied for and started their climb. Remember this is 1924, and they were true adventureers in the world. This was a very big deal! Well written and often told in rich detail, this is an exceptional novel in many ways. However,the historical facts were not held, parts of the climb at odds, and this was a distraction. All in all, the novel held my attention.

Recommended. prisrob 01-31-13
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Phelps Gates VINE VOICE on January 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This novel is a re-imagining of what Mallory's last Everest expedition might have been like for him and Irvine, and how his wife might have reacted at home while waiting for news. Everest buffs will find it frustrating, since the account it gives deviates widely from what actually happened on the expedition: the description of attempts on the summit is quite different, as is the personnel involved. Various imaginary episodes are introduced to heighten the drama and the foreshadowing of the final outcome. It's perhaps unfair to object, since this is after all, a novel, and Rideout is entitled to add and subtract at will, but one is startled by the errors in geography, such as putting the Western Cwm on the north side of Everest (p. 55). Mallory is depicted as thoroughly and relentlessly heterosexual: his hobnobbing with the Bloomsbury Set is only briefly alluded to a couple of times. On the positive side, the novel is nicely paced and develops into a page-turner, especially at the end (will he make it?). But I didn't feel that it provided much insight into Mallory's character.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Granfors TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tanis Rideout's ABOVE ALL THINGS is a lovers' tale, an adventure, a tragedy and a romance. She researched the early attempts to scale Everest, and in doing so, met the other half of the story: the wives left behind to await the fate of the men.

George Mallory and his wife Ruth are the two main characters. Their relationship began in Venice. When they married, they settled in England. George had huge ambitions as a member of the National Geographic Society. He yearned to be the first man to scale Everest, not just for himself, but for England. His mountaineering takes him away so often, Ruth feels lonely, abandoned, and neglected. She is raising their three children alone (except for the household staff).

Alternating chapters between Ruth's increasing anxiety about her marriage and George's final attempt to scale the mountain, Rideout builds suspense and pathos. The team with George is well tested except for the brawny youngest member, Sandy. The sherpas know too well what can happen on the mountain. George lost seven of them to an avalanche in his previous attempt. They must throw themselves into this attempt with all they've got in money, skill, coordination of teams, and raw courage. Everest, known as Chomolungma to the Tibetans, is believed to harbor devils that throw men to their deaths.

Oxygen deprivation, frost bite, cracking and blistered lips, ears, faces, the pure exhaustion of putting one foot in front of the other, Rideout carries us to the brink with the two men selected to make the final assault.

Back home, Ruth tries to be the good British wife, stiff upper lip and no nonsense with the children. As the weeks and months pass, she loses a little more of her composure. She leans more on their family friend, Will.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn Uyemura VINE VOICE on February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read many books about Everest climbs, and as a woman, I often think about the people left behind, the risks taken, the danger courted--to what end and at what cost? Not long ago, I read a book about the several attempts made by the British in the 1920s to "conquer" the mountain, and the loss of Mallory and Sandy Irvine. So I was interested but not really expecting anything great. This book captured my whole attention and kept me up late at night reading.

The writing is strong, intense, vivid, and you can feel as if you are truly there. Many mountaineers write their memoirs about their climbs, and they do their best to capture the feel of being on a mountain like Everest, but in the hands of a skilled novelist, it is better than non-fiction!

And the interspersed chapters of Mrs. Mallory, back home with 3 children, longing for her husband, angry at being left, but hopeful, passionately in love, and fearful of what could happen, increased the suspense and the human interest.

My only quibble with the book is that the novelist has the freedom to change details, compress, move time around, invent dialogue, create interior thoughts--all fine with me. But when I read at the end that Mallory's brother Trafford did not, in fact, die in WW1, but in 1944, I felt a little betrayed, because his death was part of the motivation for quite a bit of the plot. Her explanation is that Mallory was so motivated by the loss of many other people in the Great War, which is fine, but to use the name of his real brother, but to change the facts seems to go beyond what I expect of a novel based on a true story.

Despite this one disagreement, I found this book a total success.
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