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A Change in Altitude

by Anita Shreve
Read by Anna Stone


Margaret McConkle and her husband, Patrick, had lived in Kenya for a few months when Patrick and their landlord and his wife decided they needed to climb Mt. Kenya. This is the last thing Margaret wanted to do. She hated the thought of the cold weather, crossing glaciers, and falling. But Patrick was adamant. He wanted to climb Mt. Kenya just so he could say he’d done it. The thrill of the climb was lost on him. He just wanted to brag about results. When their landlord’s wife, Diana, falls into the glacier to her death, the rest turn around and go back.

Margaret never dreamed that this incident would damage her own marriage. But it has. Patrick blames her slowness for Diana’s death, since Diana’s rushing ahead of the guide was the reason she fell. She was impatient because Margaret was not in shape for the climb and was slowing them down. The other couple who was climbing with them also blamed Margaret. However, Diana’s husband, Arthur, blames himself because he’d been holding hands with Margaret during the night as the three couples all slept in the same hut. This weighed heavily on Margaret along with other disasters that befell her.

A Change in Altitude is also a story about changing attitudes. Margaret makes an effort to change people’s attitudes with her camera, taking pictures of Kenyans in the poverty in which they lived. She was able to affect one life. It is a typical story of foreigners who treat people as second class citizens. It is also filled with characters who are normal, living human beings, with weaknesses and strengths. They have to look around sometimes to find those strengths. Pick up a copy of A Change in Altitude and see what you think. The setting alone makes it worth reading.

The Book

Hachette Audio
September 22, 2009
Audio CD / Unabridged / 9 HRS
1600247644 / 978-1600247644
General Fiction
More at
NOTE: contains violence, sex, profanity

The Reviewer

Jo Rogers
Reviewed 2009
© 2009