Beyond the Mountain
AbeBooks Member Since 1996
AbeBooks Member Since 1996
About this Item
Title: Beyond the Mountain
Publisher: Harper & Row, New York, NY
Publication Date: 1983
Binding: Hardcover; First Printing
Dust Jacket Condition: NF
Edition: First Edition
About this title
I have reads hundred of nonfiction and dozens of fiction books on the subject of mountaineering. Beyond the Mountain is the best written and most compelling novel relating to climbing I have ever read. Elizabeth Arthur is an extremely gifted novelist. Her story of the life of a complicated woman set against the background of a climb of one of the world's highest mountains is elegantly written and extremely moving. Arthur's sensitive portrayal of Nepal captures the essence of that wonderful and peculiar kingdom and true ambivalence of many Westerners toward it. Her images are vivid, her prose lyrical yet precise.
Arlene Blum, author of Annapurna: A Woman's Place
Elizabeth Arthur's first book, Island Sojourn, won her acclaim for its extraordinary subtlety and depth. Beyond the Mountain, her first work of fiction, will mark another kind of beginning - the arrival of an important novelist whose new book is as vivid as her last, but even more finely hewn inits subtlety and violence. Original and unforgettable images mark this novel about guilt, desire, and passion. Its beautifully crafted observations reveal, in Joseph Conrad's words, "a single-minded attempt to render the highest kind of justice tot he visible universe."
Why climb a mountain? Because it's there. Sir George Leigh Mallory's famous explanation has haunted the imagination since its utterance, yet for those who have never climbed, its meaning remains as inscrutable, as tantalizing, as enigmatic as the jutting snow-shrouded palisades of the mountain at the heart of this novel. On that mountain's slopes is set the story of a climber and her ascent to escape from her past.
Artemis Phillips has been a climber for most of her life. With her brother Orion and her husbandNicholas Rhodes she has traveled to some of the world's great ranges and achieved fame as an accomplished mountaineer. When she joins a women's expedition in Nepal,she is only dimly aware of the forces which push her up the slopes, but it becomes clear that she desires atonement.For Temis, the ascent becomes a series of confrontations -with those strangers who make Nepal their home, with the challenge of snow and ice, with memory and desire. The simplicity of the mountain symbolizes everything Temis wants to be - and her odyssey is largely a journey into the past and into her electric, obsessive, passionate marriage to Nicholas, a marriage that has almost destroyed her.
Elizabeth Arthur proves again that she is a writer of formidable talent. Beyond the Mountain shows us people in extremis and illuminates the complexities of our lives. In the end, the novel is an affirmation - of independence and the fellowship of man.
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