When she was a newly minted college graduate, Canadian author Tanis Rideout landed a job in an outdoor equipment store. “I had absolutely no business selling that kind of gear—technical clothing, tents, kayaks and canoes,” she recalls. “I wasn’t terribly outdoorsy or sporty.” But it was there that she encountered a fellow worker who was “obsessed with all things Everest.” Rideout became interested, too, especially after watching a documentary that, she says, “showed some of the footage from the early expeditions—these gorgeous long shots by John Noel, of these massive white ice cliffs, and this tiny line of men trudging along in that jerky early film way, with their massive packs and wooden ice axes.” Eventually she came across the story of George Mallory, who made his third and final attempt to summit Mount Everest in 1924. Mallory’s story—his strong love for his wife, Ruth, and his desire to conquer the world’s highest mountain—are the basis for her debut novel, Above All Things (Putnam/Amy Einhorn, Feb.). Rideout (represented by Ron Eckel at Cooke International) also has a collection of poetry coming out in Canada this spring.
Says publisher Einhorn, “When I read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, I was on the edge of my seat—even though I already knew the ending. I had the same feeling with Above All Things: Mallory’s story is epic, tragic, and riveting. Not only has Rideout written a first-class adventure book, but the poet in her has finely wrought the characters’ interior lives. In the tradition of Mrs. Dalloway and Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife (Ballantine, 2011), Rideout brings alive George’s long-suffering wife, Ruth, and shows the true cost of obsession.”