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Above All Things Hardcover – Jun 19 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; First Edition edition (June 19 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771076355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771076350
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 18 2012
Format: Hardcover
Story Description:

McClelland & Stewart Inc.|June 19, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-7710-7635-0

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.

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! The alternating chapters between different days of George's legendary climb and only one day in Ruth's life was a brilliant concept on Ms. Rideout's part. The exhilaration, suspense, and gripping writing is amazing. The vivid descriptions of the bone-chilling cold, the cutting wind, and the glaring ice made you feel as if you were there climbing with the group.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Yeahwrite! on July 24 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you love good writing that transports you to a different time and place, read this book. These pages will put you alongside Mallory and Irvine as the tallest mountain in the world pulls you into the death zone - and the author gives a much deeper and insightful answer than 'Because it is there'. Thank you Tanis Rideout, for a story of extreme human endurance, both emotional and physical, told with consummate style and skill.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By thatsallshewrote on July 9 2012
Format: Hardcover
Tanis Rideout's Above All Things is a gorgeous study in desire (and its many manifestations: wanting, needing, longing, moving). It asks us to consider what drives us towards (and away) from the things that matter. How it is we come to decide what it is that matters -- and what we are willing to put on the line for it.

Rideout has created intricate worlds that are engaging and vibrant in her fictional account of George Mallory's 1924 Everest expedition. She traces how, in the years following the Great War, individual and national desires collided, resulting in the famed expedition to the mountain's summit. Rideout offers us particular insight into the lives of George Mallory, his expedition companion Sandy Irvine, and his wife Ruth, who struggles to accept her dutiful place awaiting George in Cambridge when her life is thrown out of order by his wanderlust.In invoking the chaos of war and its aftershock, the relationships imposed by colonial economies and imaginaries, the desires underpinning these explorations, and the lives of those affected by them, this novel asks us to consider these things as human things, and raises questions as to what their means and ends are worth.

While epic in scope, Rideout manages to move skillfully from the sweeping to the intimate, finding poetry and humour in the everyday. She offers insight into circumstances that are both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. She is skilled at exploring the spaces between; the slack and tension between humans, and between humans and objects (Everest first comes to mind, but note the role of letters in the novel). Her characters are complicated and embodied, with Rideout paying careful attention to the physical pleasures and pains that come with their territories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kate Blair on July 12 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Above All Things is a wonderful balance of high adventure and intricately observed detail. Tanis Rideout makes Mallory's tale fresh again with beautifully written descriptions of the expedition set against a backdrop of home. Bringing together richly imagined personal lives and historical research, she explores duty, longing, love and obsession in a moving, evocative and perfectly paced story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By highparkdave on Nov. 24 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Found this very tiresome; for the most part. Must have had an effective hook to keep me reading especially through the interminable and repetitious minutiae of "her" chapters. Total surprise after the boredom to have a such a magnificent finale. Seems like an editor could have helped by streamlining her endless,and to my mind, pointless observations about everyday occurrences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Heather Pearson TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 1 2013
Format: Paperback
I have no idea what prompted me to read this book. I have never had an interesting in climbing nor in the history of Mount Everest. I don't even like to climb to the top of a step ladder, but by the time I had finished the first chapter, I didn't want to put Above all Things down. Some how, author Tanis Rideout has brought to life a story that is almost ninety years old. I wanted to race through this book so I could find out what happened and at the same time, I had to keep myself for searching about George Mallory on the Internet. That would have been cheating.

This is the story of the third attempt by the British in 1924 to scale Mount Everest. George Mallory was part of the team for each of those attempts. Each time he left at home his wife Ruth and their three children.

I was captivated by this fictionalized re-telling. As I was reading, I watched the snow outside my window and shivered knowing that Mallory and his team had endured much worse. I imagined them in their cotton and leather clothing and realized how inadequate their supplies must have been. Poor nutrition and dehydration must have plagued them through the entire adventure.

Several thoughts stuck with me through out the book. First, the nature of a man. What lengths a man would go to in achieving a goal. What price was George willing to pay to be able to stand at the summit of Everest.

Second, the role of the wife, who was expected to stay at home and support what ever it was that the husband chose to do with his life. Was Ruth given any say in what George did.

A third thing that bothered me was that at that time it was thought to be unsporting if the climbers used oxygen bottles. Who would think it unsporting.
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