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A Change in Altitude: A Novel Paperback – May 4, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Shreve (Testimony), who worked in Kenya as a journalist early in her career, returns to that country in her slow latest, the story of a photojournalist and her doctor husband, whose temporary relocation abroad goes sour. The year-long research trip is an opportunity for Patrick, but leaves Margaret floundering in colonialist culture shock, feeling like an actor in a play someone British had written for a previous generation. When a climbing trip to Mt. Kenya goes fatally wrong, Margaret's role in the tragedy drives a quiet wedge between the couple. Compounding those stressors are multiple robberies and adulterous temptations, as well as Margaret's freelance work for a controversial newspaper. Written in a strangely emotionless third person, the novel is stuffed with travelogues and vignettes of privileged expatriate life, including the chestnut of Margaret feeling very guilty about being given a rug she admires. While some of these moments aren't bad, the scant dramatic tension and direct-to-video plot make this a slog. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
As a young woman, Shreve spent three years working as a journalist in Nairobi, Kenya, and her vivid descriptions clearly show an affection for the East African nation. Unfortunately, most critics found the setting to be the novel's only redeeming quality. Shreve, known for crafting complex, multilayered protagonists, ultimately fails here. Critics unanimously expressed their disappointment in Margaret's character and described her as dull, unlikable, and frequently obtuse. The critic from the Los Angeles Times also felt that the constant use of "anachronisms in attitude and dialogue" rendered the book unreadable. A Change in Altitude is for die-hard Shreve fans only. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
I was very disappointed with the characters. The only character we got to know was Margaret. It's not clear to me how she and Patrick managed to get married because there doesn't seem to be much love between them. He seems irritable with her all the time and I just wished she would stand up for herself a bit more. We didn't discover anything more about Patrick's character.
I did find it very that people that had never gone climbing before would take on such a challenging climb with a couple they didn't know very well and with only three weeks preparation. The so called 'indiscretion' that seems to be the main focus of this book was in my opinion extremely innocent and hardly surprising it happened at all given the weakness of the relationship between Patrick and Margaret.
Following the accident, the other couple that I thought would be central to the book, completely disappeared.
We then moved on to the second half of the book and Margaret's new job. Here she met another man and a relationship seemed to be blossoming when once again our character disappeared.
If Sherve had developed her characters a bit more this could have been a very enjoyable read. We just never got to know the characters well enough to care about them. The question about what to do when the relationship hit a crises, stay or leave, became irrelevant to me because I didn't know the characters well enough to care. It's a shame that the author was so busy sharing her experiences of Africa with us that she forgot about the story she was writing.
Her accounts of Man 0ver Board events and similar, while taking some literary licence, are acceptable to an expert in sailing and MOB drills. However, as also being an expert in Rock and Ice safety, this book has no place but File 13, the TRASH BIN
I have loved every other novel she has written, and am buying some more now
As an aside, anyone considering an affair should read "Where or When" , a delightful, thought provoking, scary novel about just how badly affairs can end......... This is Anita at her best!!!!
I wrote directly to Anita about A Change In Altitude some months ago, but she never replied