Book Review: A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

PATRICK and Margaret are newlyweds living in Kenya.

PATRICK and Margaret are newlyweds living in Kenya.

Written from Margaret’s point of view ‘A Change in Altitude’ describes her culture shock at becoming a privileged ex-pat in a largely impoverished society. Living in a cottage in the grounds of a large estate they are taken under the wing of the couple who own the ‘Big House’. As emotions between the four become more entangled Margaret and Patrick are invited to join a party to climb Mount Kenya.

Margaret is clearly unequipped and unprepared for such an arduous climb and relations deteriorate between the group. A tragedy occurs on the mountain and nothing will be the same for any of them again.

Margaret and Patrick’s marriage begins to fragment as he blames her for events. Questions are raised about love and fidelity and whether marriage can survive under these circumstances.


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Setting the novel in Africa adds another dimension to Shreve’s work that lifts it above the standard relationship dilemma plot. She has captured the beauty and essence of the country and once again doesn’t fail to deliver a stunning book that was impossible to put down.

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