Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mini-Review of "The Steady Running of the Hour" by Justin Go

In "The Steady Running of The Hour," Justin Go has penned a remarkable novel.  He has woven together three separate stories of attempts to climb to the summit - physical or metaphorical - on the part of characters separated by a century of time.

After surviving a nearly fatal wounding at The Somme in WWI, Ashley Walsingham embarks on one of the early attempts to scale the summit of Mt. Everest.  Meanwhile, he and Imogen have been trying to figure out if the week of passion they spent together before he left for France can ever be turned into a sustained relationship.   Almost a century later, Tristan Campbell has embarked on a trek to discover if he may be the only surviving relative of the child born to Ashley and Imogen, and the rightful heir to a huge fortune.that has been held in trust for 80 years.

The novel toggles back and forth in time between Ashley and Imogen's quests and Tristan's attempts to find clues to the secrets of his grandmother's parentage.  There are wonderful and subtle parallels in the disparate stories.  The author gives us reports from each of the base camps established as the expedition makes its way up the Himalayan massif.  In his own quest, Tristan covers "base camps" in London, Paris, Berlin, and Iceland in his quest for the truth.

Ultimately, each of the three journeys fails to reach the "summit," but the separate and interwoven journeys are epic in their sweep.

The novel is beautifully written with a strong sense of place.  Mr. Go is a master at description of sights and sounds and tastes, to the point where I felt that I had embarked on the arduous journey as a fellow trekker with the protagonists.



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