Sunday, April 24, 2011

Anita Shreve - A Change in Altitude

26. A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve (2009)
Length: 468 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 21 April 2011
Finished: 24 April 2011
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 2 April 2011
Why do I have it? I like Anita Shreve as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Patrick and Margaret have already been together for two years - married for just five months - when Patrick, a physician, receives news of a recently vacated position working in a hospital in Kenya. Despite the fact that the couple will be living in another country, the job description seems perfect for Patrick and he decides to take the position. Having never traveled anywhere beyond her tiny hometown in Massachusetts, Magaret willingly gives up her job as a photographer for a struggling local newspaper, and eagerly joins her husband on what she is certain will be a grand adventure. So the young newlyweds embark on their year-long sojourn to Africa with the highest of hopes that their experience will be memorable.

While Patrick views their move to Africa as a chance to fulfill a longstanding desire to practice in his chosen field, Margaret quickly realizes that she is the person who is most out of place within an otherwise familiar society. She soon understands that there is much that she doesn't know about the complex mores of her new home. And while Patrick has quickly grown accustomed to living in Africa, Margaret also discovers that there is still much for her to learn about the husband she thought she knew.

Three months after their arrival, a British couple invites them to take part in an expedition to the summit of Mount Kenya. According to their new friends, Margaret and Patrick will be climbing with themselves and another couple, during a four-day-long excursion. Although they are relative amateurs when it comes to climbing, Margaret and Patrick nevertheless eagerly accept their acquaintances' invitation. After all, the British couple assures them that although the ascent is arduous, the expedition is otherwise entirely safe.

Except it isn't. At some point during the team's harrowing ascent, a terrible accident occurs. In the aftermath of such devastating tragedy, Margaret struggles to understand what actually happened on the mountain and how these events have seemingly transformed herself and her marriage, perhaps forever.

Anita Shreve's A Change in Altitude provides a heartfelt portrait of a fledgling marriage. Written with a stunning emotional intensity and strikingly lyrical language, Ms. Shreve transports her readers to the exotic landscape of Africa and into the most intimate of relationships. She delves into the private life of a newly married couple, the irrevocable impact of a tragedy, and the elusive nature of forgiveness.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book; I found it to be an interesting story with an intriguing plot. I have consistently found Ms. Shreve to be an excellent writer; her characters are remarkably sympathetic and well-developed - just ordinary people faced with every day, realistic dilemmas. In my opinion, this was a well-told story, set in an exotic location and was a leisurely-paced, enjoyable reading experience for me. I give this book a definite A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight


  1. This book was really well written and interesting. I learned a lot about life in Kenya. I wish the descriptions were a little, well, more descriptive since the author used a lot of terms for African items but didn't offer enough hints as to what she was really referring to, for those of us who are uninformed about that type of stuff.

    1. I totally agree, Netherland, but I still enjoyed the book.


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