Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sony and Sally, A Marriage Made in Heaven

Well guys, I'm the first to admit that my patience with technology is very limited and I;'m having a heck of a time typing on my new netbook knowing that we;re being charged 40 cents a minute for all my goofs. On the other hand, I'm looking out to sea and we've just left Costa Maya, Don's gone upstairs to get us a cheese tray and the ice is chilling. This keyboard is tough though after using a full size keyboard.
I had been invited to be a guest blogger this week on Jungle Red and was thrilled and scared on how we;'d manage it from sea. Good thing we put it off til Feb,. Wouldn't have happened!

So, on the to Sony, which is behaving much better than my cute little laptop! It is the greatest thing since chopped beef. I'm telling you - if you wear progressive lenses - you MUST own a Sony ebook reader. I have already gone through one book in no time flat. Because of the way progressives work, if you're reading a traditional book - as I am now - there's a lot of blurriness on the periphery. With the ebook reader you are seeing such a nice tiny page that you can scan it so quickly and easily - no strain. I simply love it! Day or night time - didn't matter, Three fonts available, Maybe it helped because of the book though, Anita Shreve's A Change in Altitude. Run out and grab a copy, Excellent!

I thought her last one, Testimony, was outstanding but this one stays right up there. Once again, she takes us back to Kenya, where she's set her novels before and where I hope to travel to next year, so it was of particular interest to me. Patrick and Margaret are newlyweds, he, a physician studying diseases and treating the poor in Nairobi. She hasn't found a job yet and is chafing at being unable to contribute, feeling like a fish out of water. Margaret spends her days trying to get to know Africa through the  back door. As a professional photograher, she sees things through a different lens and has a special affinity for the people.

When she takes her portfolio to the Kenyan Tribune she is hired as a freelancer and revels in the joy of working with a multicultural crew of reporters, especially Rafiq, a writer with a conscience.

The title is a clever play on the word attitude and altitude. Mount Kilimanjaro looms large in the plot of the story. If you've read Krakauer's first book  about mountain climbing you;ll know that climbers tend to be over confident in their abilities and underestimate the power of a mountain. Multitudes of illness can force hikers to turn back, altitude sickness among them.

When Patrick proposes a climb to be undertaken with their landlords and neighbors, British ex-pat, pompous Arthur and his can-do wife, Diana, Margaret sensibly intuits that she will not be up to it and will be a drain on the expedition. No one listens to her and she is forced by Patrick's strange attempt at good intentions to go along reluctantly and terrified. What happens on the mountain affects their marriage, friendships and futures in unintended ways, moving the novel in unexpected ways. I don't want to say too much but I found it a very satisfying novel and a deep exploration of a woman's growth and maturity.

Does Anita Shreve ever disappoint? Not in my book! The cheese is here - gotta go!

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