A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

My body was sitting on the beach at Topsail Island, North Carolina but my mind was transported to the dusty streets of Nairobi before the seasonal rains while reading A Change of Altitude.  It was not surprising to learn Anita Shreve once lived in Kenya.  Only someone who lived there could capture the moral questions that come up when living in a country different from your own.

A Change of Altitude is about Margaret, a newlywed who lives with her husband, Patrick, in Kenya.  He’s a doctor doing research on tropical diseases.  She’s at a bit of a loss on how to spend her time since the move.  Margaret was a reporter in Boston and now feels purposeless.  Patrick and Margaret are invited to climb Mount Kenya with two other couples.  An accident during the climb changes the course of their marriage.

This book can easily be a book club favorite if readers are brave enough to pick it up.  The events make Margaret ask some hard questions about herself and her marriage.  Although the average reader won’t have lived in another country where the customs are different, many of the feelings and doubts expressed by Margaret have been felt by someone in a relationship.  There are the normal marriage questions such as whether or not to have children, if children are in the future then when would be a good time to start trying and the harder questions such as which characteristics in my mate can be overlooked and which ones should I confront him/her about?  It can make the reader ask those questions of themselves and some readers will find they aren’t ready for those answers.

You can learn more about Anita Shreve, her upcoming visits, and her books at http://anitashreve.com/.

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