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Above All Things

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  2,356 ratings  ·  506 reviews
“Tell me the story of Everest,” she said, a fervent smile sweeping across her face, creasing the corners of her eyes. “Tell me about this mountain that’s stealing you away from me.”

In 1924 George Mallory departs on his third expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Left behind in Cambridge, George’s young wife, Ruth, along with the rest of a war-ravaged England, an
Hardcover, 385 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Putnam Adult (first published March 6th 2012)
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You don't need to be a mountain climber to get hooked on the subject, especially when it comes to Mount Everest. Three years ago I read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and was hooked. Since then I have read seven more books on Everest, followed online coverage each season, and watched a handful of films. However, Above All Things is the first dedicated piece of Everest fiction I have read. Though I was intrigued by author Tanis Rideout's NPR interview plugging the book, it left me suspicious. Her ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
In 1924, George Mallory set out on an expedition with seven other men for a third British attempt at reaching the peak of Mount Everest. Really, it was an easy decision for him, much to his wife, Ruth's, dismay: like many climbers, but perhaps more than most, George is driven to climb Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. His two previous defeats only make him more determined, though at thirty-seven, he knows this is his last chance. If he fails this time, he won't get another shot.

Vikki VanSickle
I met the author of this book at en event last year and was thrilled to see it out in stores, and with such a beautiful cover treatment. I loved the dual-narrative of the book, which alternated between an ill-fated climbing expedition by George Mallory and his team and a day in the life of his wife, Ruth, who is waiting for his return with their three children.

I was worried I wouldn't enjoy the George sections because Mountain climbing and traditional adventure stories do not interest me in any
Andrea Paterson
Somehow I have managed to live my entire life without knowing thing about George Mallory or the 1924 attempt to conquer Everest. Just in case you've managed to do the same I won't give away the ending, but I suspect I'm the only person on the planet who had the opportunity to read this book without knowing what was coming. Consequently I was surprised when the ending happened.

I have since done a bit of reading about Mallory and the early treks up the world's highest mountain and I can say that
Three word review: Romantic, disjointed, slow.

While I liked reading Above All Things, I don’t think it’s a stand-out book or one that I will really think much about again. The characters of George and Ruth really held the book together. The narrative felt flaky but the well-developed characters really drove it along and made me want to keep reading. You can really feel the connection between George and Ruth and understand how in love they are. Their children too, have very sweet personalities an
Bookkaholic Magazine
(See our full review over at Bookkaholic.) The story of George Mallory's fatal obsession with Mount Everest, with historical gaps filled in by the imagination. He tries not once, not twice, but three times to conquer the mountain, leaving a wife and three small children behind for months at a time. The novel mainly focuses on that crucial final attempt in 1924. It is beautifully written (at times too flowery), gripping, and suspenseful even though the ending is well-known.
I had high hopes for this book. An explorer climbing Mount Everest and his wife's perspective as well! How interesting!!!
But I was so wrong!! Here's a list of what I didnt like:
1. The book is supposed to be from from the perspective of the wife, Ruth, and George the explorer. Although I'm ok with others in the story she pops in explorer, Sandy's, perspective. Why? It doesn't fit. It feels out of place. He's like a third wheel!
2. Ruth is such a boooooring character. All she thinks about is her hu
Lori Anaple
I went into this book not knowing that it was based upon a true story. I think that added to my enjoyment of it. It has always interested my, this fascination with Everest, and to combine that with the first expeditions, I was hooked.

Juxtaposed in the story are the tales of George who feels the need to conquer the mountain, and his wife. How does one be married to a man that loves not only her but an object? We read their love story positioned with such grace within each of the protagonists. We
Lara Kleinschroth
Just finished racing through the final 80 pages of my advanced reading copy of this stellar book and I am still tingling with breathlessness. Can't wait for its release in June, when I can share it with and recommend it to everyone! It is described as a cross between The Paris Wife and Into Thin Air, which it is, but I would even compare it to one of my all-time faves, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. It takes brilliant writing technique and storytelling ability to take a story out of the history ...more
Kathrine Holyoak
Rideout's depiction of George Mallory's pioneer ascent up Everest allows readers to feel the thrill of the climb without paying the agonizing cost of the reality. I felt the chill settle in my own bones as the oxygen thinned and the timing became critical. However, whole chapters should have been cut. The adrenaline of the expedition was interrupted by the chapters which switched the scene to Mallory's melancholy and boring wife waiting in London. I began to skip those chapters entirely and lost ...more
Lisa B.
My Thoughts

What an amazing book. I loved the way the author decided to present the story. We follow George on his fatal attempt to summit Mt. Everest in 1924. We follow Ruth during one day as she waits to hear of her husbands success or failure. But, as we are reading about the expedition, George’s thoughts frequently turn to Ruth - how they met, time spent together and past conversations. The same happens with Ruth. We see her go about this one day, but get to read her thoughts about George. Ho
Donna Wellard
a blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction this harrowing story follows George Mallory's 1924 attempt to conquer Everest combined with the telling of the details in a single day of his wife and children, left behind in England. This book was a real heartbreaker and a bit hard to read in August given it's frozen setting. I've never really understood why people continue to go to Everest and sacrifice so much when they push themselves in extreme ways. Even living with Canada's cold gets me ...more
Carolyn Taylor-Watts
This is a powerful book - indeed, harrowing is the word, yet it is also tender. Thought-provoking, it raises philosophical questions about risk and great sacrifice, about what is worth cost, time, pain, suffering - even death, especially death. Many are the reasons given,including those used to justify cost,and the potential loss of lives. When George Mallory is asked why he would leave his wife and three children for extended periods of time and the possibility that he may never return, all so ...more
Arah-Leah Hay
First, if you haven't read a book about Everest, let this not be your first choice. This is my third book on the subject after reading "Into Thin Air" and becoming an Everest fanatic, and so far nothing compares to Krakauer's true account. This however is my first fictional endeavor inspired by true events. Rideout delivers a seemingly authentic narration based on George Mallory's attempt for the summit 1924. The story doesn't start and stop with just Mallory and the expedition though, it takes ...more
My husband gave me this book, figuring I'd enjoy reading a fictional treatment of George Mallory's doomed ascent of Mt. Everest. Normally I would--I enjoy reading books about exploration and adventure.

Unfortunately, this work blended the expedition story with a melodrama regarding Mallory's relationship with his wife. I'm not a fan of romance novels even when they are well written, and the opening chapter had me flipping back to the cover to see if there wasn't a picture of Fabio there, bare che
Jun 27, 2012 Kristin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everest enthusiasts, 1920s historical fiction readers, realistic romance fans
Love love loved it! My favourite kind of of historical fiction that doesn't sacrifice realistic character development. A brilliant first novel on a fascinating subject.

Full review to come - I just needed to squee a bit!
There are two reasons I did not give this book 4 stars. One has to do with me and the other has to do with the writing, so you can decide for yourself how that impacts how you feel about this review and what it means for your impression of the book.

I have been fascinated with Everest for many years, which is one of the reasons this book appealed to me. I have read lots of non-fiction books about Everest expeditions (including many of the books mentioned in the Author's Note), and I am already f
"When I was small I imagined love as something safe, something without sharp edges, only the sweeping, enveloping curves of romance and happiness. But it isn't. Not now, anyway. There are edges and they cut."

"Above All Things" is the story of George and Ruth Mallory. He was a British explorer, long debated to have been the first (with Sandy Irvine) to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1924. She was his wife and the mother of his three children. Told from the points of view of multiple charact
I knew about Mallory’s 1924 attempt to scale Mount Everest and so when a fictional account of the expedition came along, I could not pass it up and I am glad I did not. Whether one is familiar with Mallory’s unfortunate attempt to climb Mount Everest or not, I do believe any reader will be pulled into this exceptionally written, heart-rendering book. Above All Things by Tanis Rideout takes the reader back to 1924 as George Mallory sets out to climb Mount Everest, while leaving his wife Ruth behi ...more
From the first page until the last page, I could not put this book down. It is fascinating on so many levels, and not just regarding the fact of George Mallory's legendary status as an explorer.

Above All Things is an intriguing read, a fascinating look at not only the man, but his wife, Ruth, and his family. The familial dynamics is portrayed with sensitivity, yet with stark reality. The prose is extremely descriptive, affording the reader a look not only into the historical value of the novel,
Erin Hopkin (née Rayfield)
I love love loved this book. Thank-you so much to the Goodreads First Reads program for sending me and ARC of this book, it was one of the best books I have read in a long time. This was a fictional account of the Mallory Everest Expedition of 1924 and is historically accurate as far as I am aware (apart from the ending as we do not really know what happened to Mallory and Irvine, and a few smaller facts the author admits to changing in her afterward). I found it gripping from the first page and ...more
J. Robinson
I think this is an absolutely amazing book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The way Rideout juxtaposes the two narratives has an astonishingly powerful effect on each. The novel is set in 1924, and is based on excellent research that must have taken years to compile and then translate into good fiction. One narrative, first person present tense, is Ruth's--George Mallory's wife at home in England tending to domestic life in all its facets, yearning for her husband's return, upset at his lon ...more
A gripping account of George Mallory's third and final attempt to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Though much has been written about these events, this book is unique in that it is told from the point of view of George's wife, Ruth.

I found the title to be especially provocative. Married couples should hold each other "above all things", but in the Mallory marriage, there is a third presence -- Everest.

George's mountain climbing took place in the 1920's, when transportation was slow and communi
Ethel Rohan
Tanis Rideout’s debut historical novel Above All Things is skillfully and beautifully written.

Charmed readers will be transported back through time and space, placing them right on the slope of treacherous and majestic Mount Everest and right inside the conflicted hearts of these memorable characters.

Above All Things centers on George Mallory, the real-life, handsome, charismatic, obsessed British explorer who made his third and final attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1924. Especially compelling
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 imaginati
I only made it to page 98 before I gave up on this so keep that in mind with my review.

Thoughts: I feel like I have this complaint a lot, but my issue with this book is marketing. Here's the description on Goodreads and Amazon:

"“Tell me the story of Everest,” she said, a fervent smile sweeping across her face, creasing the corners of her eyes. “Tell me about this mountain that’s stealing you away from me.”
In 1924 George Mallory departs on his third expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest
This is a book I hesitated to pick up because it is about mountain climbing, a pursuit in which I have no interest. The many positive reviews it has received changed my mind, and I’m so happy I was persuaded. It’s not just about mountain climbing, and it is a wonderful read.

The book tells a fictionalized account of George Mallory’s third attempt to conquer Mount Everest, in 1924. The expedition is described from two points of view: that of George’s and that of the expedition’s least-experienced
In Op grote hoogte beschrijft Tanis Rideout de tocht van George Mallory in 1924
naar de top van Mount Everest, Himalaya. Gesteund door Everest Comité is hij met
Andrew Irving in juni 1924 begonnen aan de laatste klim. Zijn lichaam werd in 1999
ontdekt, Sandy (Andrew)Irving is nooit gevonden.

Op grote hoogte is een waargebeurde geschiedenis, geschreven volgens
de authentieke briefwisseling tussen het echtpaar Ruth en George Mallory.
Vertrouwen, kameraadschap, liefde vormt de basis, er omheen een pracht
Kim McGee
Being the wife of an explorer is most likely one of the worst situations a woman can find herself in. When they are victorious it had nothing to do with you, when they are defeated you bear their misery and disappointment. This is as true today as it was in 1924. Such is the life of Ruth Mallory whose dashing husband is destined to go on yet one more attempt to climb Mt. Everest and be the first to reach the summit. Ruth will once again be left with the children, her brave face a mask to all the ...more
Tanis Rideout transforms the real-life story of mountaineer George Mallory into a sweeping fictional account of his final expedition to Mt Everest in 1924. This storyline alternates with chapters told from the perspective of his wife Ruth who is anxiously awaiting his return in London. I liked the concept of this book as it gives you several perspectives to complete the picture of the characters and the historic events.

The chapters chronicling the expedition to Mt Everest work very well that wa
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Name 1 14 May 30, 2013 08:25PM  
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Tanis Rideout is a poet and writer living and working in Toronto. In the fall of 2005 she released her first full-length book of poetry Delineation, exploring the lives and loves of comic book super-heroines, which was praised as a “tantalizing, harrowing read.” It has been featured on CBC Radio’s Bandwidth with Alan Neal and Definitely Not the Opera with Sook-Yin Lee.

In the spring of 2005 Rideout
More about Tanis Rideout...
Arguments with the Lake Delineation

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