In this episode, Quill & Quire web editor Sue Carter Flinn discusses the lure of Mount Everest with Toronto author and poet Tanis Rideout, whose debut novel Above All Things recounts the ill-fated final expedition of adventurer George Mallory, intertwined with a day in the life of Mallory’s wife, Ruth.
“A love story, a tale of adventure, and a study in obsession all at once, Above All Things is simply breathtaking. With Tanis Rideout’s debut, a major new voice in Canadian fiction arrives.” — Joseph Boyden, Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author of Through Black Spruce
“Above All Things has it all: adventure, tragedy, mystery, and a deeply moving love story. It’s gorgeously written and beautifully paced. I could not put it down. Prepare to be dazzled.” — Alison Pick, author of the Man Booker Prize–nominated Far To Go
Lincoln Hall’s new book, Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest, is pretty much what it sounds like: an account of how Hall, who had nearly reached the summit of Everest in 1984, suffered a cerebral edema and was left high on the mountain during his second attempt in May 2006. Presumed dead after hours of immobility and non-responsiveness, he was found alive the next morning having miraculously survived the night with no shelter, oxygen, water, or warmth. As far as things to have done go, that’s pretty impressive.
Almost as impressive is the book itself. Hall, an Australian magazine editor by trade who has been climbing for decades, recounts his story in elegant prose and with a generosity of spirit that comes not only from his very nature, but also his dedication to Tibetan Buddhism, a spiritual orientation that infuses the narrative with calmness, kindness, and a thoughtful precision. The end result is a sort of existential account of a near tragedy, vastly more meditative than the typical climbing yarn, and ultimately more rewarding.
I met with Lincoln Hall earlier this week.
Jared Bland: Toward the end of the book, you ask yourself how it is that you could still be alive, but realize that you don’t think you’ll know until you’ve recovered properly and had time to explore it. It’s been just over two years since these events. Do you have a better idea of what happened? (more…)