Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reading guide for Above All Things by Tanis Rideout

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Above All Things

by Tanis Rideout

Above All Things by Tanis Rideout X
Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2013, 400 pages

    Paperback:
    Feb 2014, 416 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. The novel is told in three different narratives: that of Ruth, of George, and of Sandy. What do you think the reader gains by being able to see the viewpoints of these three main characters? What does each of these perspectives bring to the telling of the story?
  2. George and Sandy's stories are told in the past tense though Ruth's is told in present tense. Why do you think that is? Ruth's story is told over the course of one day, whereas George and Sandy's are told over a period of time. How do these different time frames enhance the novel?
  3. When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, George Mallory replied, "because it's there." In your opinion, why did George attempt Everest the first time? Do you think his reasoning was different for his final, fated attempt? Why do people embark on similar endeavors, such as running marathons, skydiving, rock climbing, etc.? Have you or would you ever consider a challenge like these?
  4. The question of climbing with or without oxygen was a serious issue in the early twentieth century—an ethical and moral question. Today, nearly everyone who climbs the mountain uses oxygen and much more sophisticated equipment and clothing. Do you think this changes the value of climbing Everest?
  5. In reading a telegram meant for her husband, Ruth finds out that George has agreed to return to Everest. Do you think it would have changed things between them if he had told her himself? How do you think he should have told her? Have you ever discovered terrible news by reading something you shouldn't have?
  6. Ruth makes a great many sacrifices to support George. What does it mean to be a supportive wife or husband? Do you think George acted selfishly? How do you support someone in something if it means sacrificing so much for yourself?
  7. While in New York George has a brief affair with another woman. Do you think Ruth knew about this affair? Should George have told her? What does this say about their marriage? Do you think this betrayal is more or less significant than George's return to Everest against Ruth's wishes?
  8. George is determined to conquer Everest for himself, but also for his country. In the end, the mountain overcomes him. What does this mean to George? For those at home in England? How would you characterize George's relationship with Everest?
  9. George decided to go on the expedition against Ruth's wishes and so she must stay at home and anxiously wait for his return. Do you think Ruth is a strong woman? In what ways is she at the mercy of her love for her husband? Do you feel sympathy for her? Do you think there are any contemporary parallels to her staying at home with her husband away, out to conquer the world, so to speak?
  10. Many explorers, astronauts, adventurers, etc., take tremendous risks at the edge of their pursuits for numerous reasons. Do you think George is justified in his pursuit of his obsession? Is it fair to his wife and children? At what point must one consider the needs of others more than one's own? How does pride influence—or skew—the clarity of George's decision making?
  11. As the youngest and most inexperienced member of the expedition, Sandy has to rely on the experience and knowledge of those around him. Do you think George should have chosen a more veteran climber? If so, why? How much confidence does George have in Sandy? Have you ever been in a position to take on a challenging task that you were not fully prepared for? Did you rise to the occasion?
  12. What do you make of the relationship between Will and Ruth? George asks Will to look after Ruth, and Will agrees. Do you think George made a mistake? What do you think Ruth's feelings are for Will?
  13. Ruth had a whole lifetime in front of her in the aftermath of George's death as well as the burden of raising three small children by herself. How do you imagine her life to have been during the months and years following the death of her husband?
  14. Consider the extravagance (i.e., champagne) of what the climbers brought with them up the mountain. Meanwhile, when the little coolie boy died, no one seemed to bat an eye. What do you think about this? Were the white men's achievements done at the expense of the indigenous people?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Berkley Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Glorious Failures

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Last Bloodcarver
    The Last Bloodcarver
    by Vanessa Le
    The city-state of Theumas is a gleaming metropolis of advanced technology and innovation where the ...
  • Book Jacket: Say Hello to My Little Friend
    Say Hello to My Little Friend
    by Jennine CapĂł Crucet
    Twenty-year-old Ismael Reyes is making a living in Miami as an impersonator of the rapper/singer ...
  • Book Jacket: The Painter's Daughters
    The Painter's Daughters
    by Emily Howes
    Peggy and Molly Gainsborough are sisters and best friends, living an idyllic life in 18th-century ...
  • Book Jacket: Beverly Hills Spy
    Beverly Hills Spy
    by Ronald Drabkin
    When it comes to espionage, not only is truth stranger than fiction, sometimes it can be downright ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Half a Cup of Sand and Sky
by Nadine Bjursten
A poignant portrayal of a woman's quest for love and belonging amid political turmoil.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Stone Home
    by Crystal Hana Kim

    A moving family drama and coming-of-age story revealing a dark corner of South Korean history.

  • Book Jacket

    The House on Biscayne Bay
    by Chanel Cleeton

    As death stalks a gothic mansion in Miami, the lives of two women intertwine as the past and present collide.

Who Said...

They say that in the end truth will triumph, but it's a lie.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

S B the B

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.