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Altitude Sickness

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  16 reviews
When a some-time lover and full-time friend dies in a climbing accident, Litsa Dremousis is left to deal with the aftermath: the loss of a soul-mate, the apartment filled with little ambushes in the form of objects from the relationship, and the difficult task of understanding what it was that made this person she loved repeatedly risk his life. And she’s also left to wond ...more
Published October 2014 by Instant Future/Future Tense Books
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Dremousis's candid and searing essay explores the grief she experienced after her longtime friend and lover dies in a mountain climbing accident. This is the first eBook exclusive from the new Future Tense Books series, Instant Future (which will be co-curated and edited by Matthew Simmons).
There is so many things to like about Altitude Sickness. It's deeply rooted in the real emotional turmoil felt by the author, but it's also smartly analyzed and creatively constructed into a multi-faceted lo
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the things I love is that Litsa is such a personable writer. The story is funny because she’s funny. It’s heartbreaking because she is heartbroken. And it has this angry core, because she’s angry. The anger is passion. The passion comes out of the fact that she misses someone, and that’s where readers can connect. We all miss someone, and we’re all, even if it’s somewhere deep down inside, angry about it. Grief, memory, the danger that one could slip either physically or emotionally at an ...more
Jade Walker
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Altitude Sickness" tells the story of how the author dealt with the death of her best friend (and on-again-off-again boyfriend of 20 years). More than just a treatise on grieving, the book also delves into the physical and emotional consequences of mountain climbing, and how society’s attitude toward this activity needs to change.

I loved this book's wit and wisdom. While Litsa plumbs the abyss of her loss, she somehow manages to return to the surface to breathe and love and share the knowledge
Sukey Pett
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Litsa Dremousis "Altitude Sickness" is the debut novel/memoir of a fresh new voice. Dremousis writes about the death of her best friend and intermittent, peripatetic lover, Neal. Neal died in a mountain climbing accident and Litsa is left to pick up the pieces. Her prose is funny, smart and endearingly human.

Dremousis has also done her homework about mountain climbing, our perspective on it, and why that needs to change. This is a terrific read that will leave you wanting to see what Litsa Dremo
Christy Napier
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Extremely timely (so many climbing deaths this year), intensely personal and compelling essay about Litsa's attempt to understand her partner's love of climbing that lead to his terrible accident. ...more
Chris Estey
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has intellectual heights and emotional depth so few possess these days. The author combines such a clarity of perception regarding drive, creativity, and loss that it is astonishing. It feeds the spirit while openly questioning the dangers of our compulsions (among them, mountain climbing). The prose crackles with sensual candor and ontological danger, and it is probably one of the most challenging and absorbing works of non-fiction you'll read in years. ...more
Margaret Adams
Candid, searing, funny, this was the first ebook exclusive from Future Tense Books (which also published Elissa Washuta’s Starvation Mode and Tatiana Ryckman’s I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do)). On a personal level, I’ve done just enough mountaineering and I know & love just enough (Seattle-based) climbers to find this folio both pertinent and sobering. ...more
Allison Ellis
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A searingly beautiful memoir about loss, love and risk. Through unflinching, honest prose, Dremousis takes us through the complexity of grief, from the hilarity of her own family to the challenging responses from the climbing community when her long-term partner, Neal, dies suddenly in a climbing accident.

As a widow and a fellow writer dealing with similar topics, I was struck by how well Dremousis handles her material: this isn't a typical grief memoir in the sense that the narrator moves from
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I immediately begun reading this, it caught a hold of me. Dremousis' loss was remarkably relatable even in the most unparalleled ways. The anger and sincerity she has/had for Neal is so palpable in her words. Litsa says, "Imagine the person you love most vanishing without their keys, wallet, money, and cigarettes. Now try to sleep each night and go to work the next day while remaining a loving family member and friend who is hopeful but also wise and realistic" This really put a thought in ...more
Aaron Dietz
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly compelling, quick, and entertaining read about the varied reactions one can have from losing a close friend due to mountaineering. Honest and true. Funny and sad. Kind of want to give the author the most solemn and reverent, slow fist bump ever, if that's even a thing that is possible. ...more
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is moving; as much due to the author's style as it is the story she tells. She weaves the emotions associated with unnecessary loss with some of the science behind why people are drawn to certain activities. In this case, rock climbing. I read this book in a long afternoon, and will likely do so again in the near future. A very rich and satisfying read. ...more
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible essay. Filled with biting grief and deep deep love. This story, about the author dealing with the death of her best friend in a climbing accident, should hit home to those of us who are lucky enough to call the NW home.
Caryn Rose
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Short, snappy, truthful and compelling. And one of the greatest opening paragraphs, ever.
Frances Dinger
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous gut-punch about love, human hubris and the fraught ways we try to connect with nature.
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sad and moving.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Dremousis' writing brims with emotion. Somewhat surprisingly, in a book about grief, it's her anger that's most palpable is anger - she's angry at her friend/lover for dying, she's angry at climbers in general for putting themselves in danger, she's angry at herself for staying entwined with Neal despite knowing he was constantly in dangerous situations. The writing is blunt and straightforward, but Dremousis wields it like a weapon. ...more
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Litsa Dremousis is the author of "Altitude Sickness" (Future Tense Books). Seattle Metropolitan Magazine named it one of the all-time "20 Books Every Seattleite Must Read", Shelf Unbound Magazine awarded it "One of the Best Indies of 2015", and the APRIL Festival recommended it in their 2015 wrap-up.

Her essay "After the Fire" was selected as one of the "Most Notable Essays 2011” by Best American

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