Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

In 1970’s Kenya, a couple slowly realizes they are not suited for each other.

What a disappointment! I really love Anita Shreve’s deeply felt descriptions and characterizations, even though much of the time they are wedded to (overly) sentimental plots. But A Change in Altitude doesn’t feel like a novel – it feels like notes on a novel intended to be written. The whole plot is predicated upon the heroine climbing Mt Kenya where there is no good reason for her to want to climb Mt Kenya. So with no preamble, the characters do things that seem hardly motivated. The descriptions of Africa and the sense of Africa were much more compelling in her previous novel, “The Last Time they Met”. Although, you know what, the end worked for me. A twist.

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