Synopses & Reviews
Margaret and Patrick have been married just a few months when they set off on what they hope will be a great adventure — a year living in Kenya. Margaret quickly realizes there is a great deal she doesn't know about the complex mores of her new home, and about her own husband.
A British couple invites the newlyweds to join on a climbing expedition to Mount Kenya, and they eagerly agree. But during their harrowing ascent, a horrific accident occurs. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Margaret struggles to understand what happened on the mountain and how these events have transformed her and her marriage, perhaps forever.
A Change in Altitude illuminates the inner landscape of a couple, the irrevocable impact of tragedy, and the elusive nature of forgiveness. With stunning language and striking emotional intensity, Anita Shreve transports us to the exotic panoramas of Africa and into the core of our most intimate relationships.
"Shreve (Testimony), who worked in Kenya as a journalist early in her career, returns to that country in her slow latest, the story of a photojournalist and her doctor husband, whose temporary relocation abroad goes sour. The year-long research trip is an opportunity for Patrick, but leaves Margaret floundering in colonialist culture shock, feeling like 'an actor in a play someone British had written for a previous generation.' When a climbing trip to Mt. Kenya goes fatally wrong, Margaret's role in the tragedy drives a quiet wedge between the couple. Compounding those stressors are multiple robberies and adulterous temptations, as well as Margaret's freelance work for a 'controversial' newspaper. Written in a strangely emotionless third person, the novel is stuffed with travelogues and vignettes of privileged expatriate life, including the chestnut of Margaret feeling very guilty about being given a rug she admires. While some of these moments aren't bad, the scant dramatic tension and direct-to-video plot make this a slog. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Shreve deftly captures both exterior and interior landscapes, using sure, subtle prose to delineate the expansive Kenyan countryside and the claustrophobia of a bad marriage." Booklist
"Visual and sharply focused....Shreve knows how to keep a reader engaged." Washington Post
"Shreve weaves a strong mix of exotic Africa and interesting characters, producing a potent story that will keep readers thinking about them long after the last page of the novel." Newsday
"A Change in Altitude rises a few thousand feet above typical women's fiction." USA Today
From one of the greatest chroniclers of the mysteries of the heart comes a new novel about the fragility of a young marriage, and the ways in which lives can turn on the axis of a single catastrophic event.
About the Author
Anita Shreve is the critically acclaimed author of fourteen novels, including Body Surfing, The Pilot's Wife, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and The Weight of Water, which was a finalist for England's Orange Prize. She lives in Massachusetts.