The Abominable: A Novel Hardcover – October 22, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
- ASIN : 0316198838
- Publisher : Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (October 22, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 672 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780316198837
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316198837
- Lexile measure : 1250L
- Item Weight : 2.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.75 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #300,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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1. You love reading gripping mountain-climbing stories, like K2 and Into Thin Air
2. You don't mind a relaxed development pace--you're content to dive into the background. This is not a read-in-one-night thriller--it's 673 pages, and if you've read The Terror, the pace is very similar. That said, I did always feel that there was enough of an impetus to keep me reading, to find out exactly what extraordinary event took place at the end of the climb.
3. You enjoy historical fiction.
4. You can overlook some egregious cultural stereotyping. Granted, this story takes place in the lead up to WWII, so Simmons' characters were fairly Germanophobic. I'm not sure that it was necessary to go quite so over the top, and the French character J.C. was annoying during his "how do you say..." moments. Since these characterizations account for so little of the actual story, they didn't overly bother me.
Bonus points if you've read and enjoyed Simmons' book The Terror. I can't really say anything about the ending without a spoiler and I hate spoilers, but I can say that the "Abominable" that the title refers to is truly abominable, and was not at all expected. A few images bothered me for a couple of days, especially because I have young children. That's all I can say.
Otherwise, I enjoyed The Abominable immensely. I love well-researched books, and Simmons is one of the top researchers today, IMHO. I love books I can get lost in, and I spent a very pleasant sixteen hours reading this book. As others have said, it will appeal to a very particular taste. I think it's most important that you love reading about mountain climbing and everything that's involved. I've never climbed a mountain and never will, but reading about expeditions almost feels like Sci Fi to me, given the extreme conditions and high death rates. I loved it.
Highly recommend this and my favorite of the author's, The Terror.
Top reviews from other countries
The blurb: As the winds rise and the temperature and oxygen levels drop, Deacon and his companions hear howls in the distance. Some dark creature is tracking them up the mountain, sending them scrabbling blindly into Everest's dangerous heights to escape it.
The reality: America saves the wimpy Brits from assured destruction in WWII years before the war even starts by obtaining evidence that Hitler is a pedophile. Yes, you read that right. No dark creature at all, but plenty of racist stereotypes and a farcical dinner party at which the narrator is amused by a near falling-out between Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin, but takes an unpleasantly homophobic disliking to Lawrence of Arabia. The first 488 pages concern nothing but mountain-climbing and are fine (two stars for these). From then on it's Famous Five and Scooby Doo all the way. Don't bother.
- Called 'The Abominable.'
- Set on Everest and the blurb includes the line: A dark creature is tracking them up the mountain, sending them scrabbling blindly into Everest's dangerous heights to escape it.
Anyway, guess what the book isn't about?
I feel seriously cheated because I was not sold the story I was set up to want. It's cool to subvert genre expectations, but to sell a monster story and then supply an espionage novel is not the same as subverting genre elements. This kind of cheap, smoke and mirrors misdirection serves only to frustrate readers.
It's a shame, because I would have enjoyed the novel if it were the story I was expecting, but ultimately I'm left disappointed.
As others have said, the description blurb has no link whatsoever to the actual contents of the book. If you've read The Terror and think this will be the same sort of thing, you're going to be disappointed in that respect. Towards the end of the book the titles link to the plot does at least become apparent.
If you have any interest in mountains and mountain climbing (even as just an armchair enthusiast as I am), then the detail and descriptions in the book will hold you, and with it is, in fact, a really good plot. Sure, the author has taken liberties with the reality of climbing and chatting at 8000m, but then the plot has to move forward. The tie in to real history, as with The Terror, is excellent. Certainly I finished it wondering "what if ...".
My only issue would be all the heights being listed in feet, which obviously links with the period, but means nothing to me!