Debut Canadian author, Tanis Rideout’s
Above All Things is now available in paperback. This book has been eagerly anticipated. After being acquired by Canadian publisher, McClelland and Stewart, there was a furious bidding war among competing publishers, with auctions being held for rights to publish in the United States and the United Kingdom. At the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, Rideout’s novel was named one of the five most talked about books.
Amy Einhorn, an influential editor with an impressive track record (she discovered The Help and The Postmistress), will be releasing the novel in the United States–but not until next year. With the author being Canadian, our country's readers are lucky to get the first crack at enjoying it. So while it may become a phenomenon here, there will no doubt be a second wave of publicity and hype in 2013.
A more indepth viewpoint and appreciation is provided below - courtesy of Indigo’s Maureen Frost.
In 1924, George Mallory, Sandy Irvine, and a group of explorers embarked on an ill-fated expedition to reach the summit of the Himalayas. George and Sandy did not return. Tanis Rideout’s debut novel, Above All Things, chronicles the climbers’ last attempt to scale the mountain an emotional perspective, entering into the thoughts and emotions of both George and Sandy.
Juxtaposed against this is George’s wife, Ruth’s struggle as she waits at home for news, her strength quickly dwindling as she becomes buried, as it were, beneath the mountain.
The writing is alive, vibrant, and takes on a dreamlike quality, as the mountaineers move further up the mountain and the strains of the thinning atmosphere and alien environment begin to take their toll on their endurance and psyches. Hallucinations induced by lack of oxygen arise and confound them. The ghosts of the past are dredged up, assuming startlingly familiar shapes or the malevolent forms of the demons that are said to dwell on the mountain.
The story of this ill-fated expedition has been told before of course, most notably in Wade Davis’ exhaustively researched Into The Silence, which relates the events in depth and in Julie Summers’ Fearless on Everest, which chronicles Sandy Irvine’s role in the legend. Similarly, Above All Things highlights the quest for self-expression, the quest for self that lies behind such epic endeavours–the need to struggle against some insurmountable force and to arise victorious; to pit oneself against a mountain for no other reason than "Because it’s there."
For those who are interested in a mythic adventure and the humanity that lies behind it, Above All Things is a must read.