Jerry Windley-Daoust – 5 stars
This is a rare find: A beautifully crafted novel, full of psychological nuance, with engaging characters and a cantering plot that kept me up reading well past my bedtime.
Back in the 1990s, Ashten Geddard and Hugo Bird became world famous as the Ashbirds. Hugo was the musical genius who wrote the songs that became the soundtrack for everyone’s lives, but charismatic Ash was the one everyone wanted. At the height of their fame, Ash decides to get away from the crush of fame in the most radical way possible–by hiking Mount Everest. Hiking the mountain forces the pair to confront the tension between them…but that tension is left unresolved when Ash falls off the mountain in a deadly accident.
Without the luminous, mysterious Ash as their center of gravity, everyone he has pulled into his orbit — Hugo, Elza (the latest of a long string of girlfriends), the session musicians who worked on his last album, and millions of fans — must find new paths. And yet, as long as the superstar’s body remains lost on the mountain, their lives seem to circle the empty place he has left behind. On one level, then, the story of Ever Rest is the story of the search for Ash’s body; on another level, though, it is also the story of the characters’ search for the people they might become now that he is gone.
If writing were karate, Roz Morris would be a black belt. Her story is lean, her characters pop off the page as fully realized people, and her plot is deeply engaging and full of surprising turns. The two worlds she presents here — the world of mountain climbing, particularly on Everest, and the world of celebrity musicians — are also fully realized. She paints her pictures with such a level of precision and technical detail that you’d be forgiven for thinking she had been an Everest-climbing rock star herself in a past life.
Finally, I’d just like to disagree with another reviewer here who didn’t quite like the ending; IMHO, the ending was as perfect as a poem.