Two newly –wed Americans in their late 20s, Margaret and Patrick, find themselves in Africa in the late 70s, where Patrick, a medical doctor, is working a year in Kenya as part of his fellowship in equatorial medicine. An adventure, climbing Mount Kenya with two other couples, takes a deadly turn, and deeply affects the relationship between Margaret and Patrick. Anita Shreve fashions this almost autobiographical story (she lived in Kenya in the late 70s and climbed Mt. Kenya herself, and visited many of the towns she writes about) in a low-key but thoughtful manner, without getting overly dramatic. She is conversant with African customs and traditions, weaving them into the novel and making some of them focal points for much of the action in the book. Shreve’s latest is maybe not the most riveting of her books, but her adeptness at describing landscapes and interiors, including the human psyche, provide for a satisfying reading experience.
Jan 22, 2010