Brittany Jedrzejewski's Reviews > A Change in Altitude

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve
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's review
Jan 03, 2011

really liked it

“The Ascent of Drama”

Anita Shreve, author of A Change in Altitude is one of my all time favorite authors. This captivating novel is about an American couple whose lives dramatically change when they move to Nairobi, and in particular during their ascent to Mount Kenya.

While I did not like that the novel was told entirely in the third person, the plot was fluid and intriguing and the language and descriptions were excellent. For example, when describing an antique typewriter she writes, “She’d tried it once, wincing at the hard thwacks the keys made, as if something delicate and tentative were being announced with a tattoo.”

Shreve does a great job of putting the reader in the book and making each account very personal. The hike back down Mount Kenya made me cold, uncomfortable and I could almost feel the guilt, anguish and astonishment that Margaret, the lead character, was feeling. The climbing terminology and descriptions were interesting and the mix between the ascent and the drama that ensued was exceptionally entertaining.

In the background, the book explores the lives of expatriates living in Nairobi who are essentially at the mercy of the land, culture and circumstances. It also covers the lives of the natives and the extreme poverty that exists.
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