Famous Men – and the Women Next to Them: Background information when reading Under the Wide and Starry Sky

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Under the Wide and Starry Sky

by Nancy Horan

Under the Wide and Starry Sky
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 496 pages
    Sep 2014, 496 pages

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Beyond the Book:
Famous Men – and the Women Next to Them

Ruth MalloryAbove All Things, Tanis Rideout's debut novel, is about a man, his wife and his other great love – a 29,000 foot mountain. Rideout explores Ruth Mallory's point of view in Above All Things; her love for George Mallory, her acceptance of his passion for Mount Everest and her deep grief at losing her husband to the hulking mountain. Why did Rideout choose to tell her story from Ruth's perspective? "George Mallory was so interesting, she (Ruth) had to be interesting, too," says the author.

Rideout's opinion is part of a growing trend among writers. The women behind – and, more often, next to – famous men are popular subject matter for many recent novels. Part of the reason for this is, as Rideout says, that they are fascinating people in their own right. Think of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Think of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. These women stood tall all by themselves. Often, too, these women were just as creative as their male partners. Think Fanny Stevenson. She is one main ...

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