5 stars Jean Gill, award-winning author, Arrows Dipped In Honey
Every character in this novel is so real I had conversation with them as the pages flashed past. I told Ashten he was the kind of man I despise, an egotistical mythomaniac who did not deserve his partners, in love or in the Ashbirds, his band. This would have been after I succumbed to his charms, the irresistible glamour of the frontman in a rock band with a voice to reach your soul. Who hasn’t been swept away by fangirl magic and felt that song was just for you?
Ash is dead somewhere on Everest and has never been as big a presence on the lives of those close to him as he is now, while they wait years for his body to be found. Revelations about the past and life-changes in the present are interwoven through many points of view.
The difference between what people think and what they say is achingly real. I loved the clashing perspectives, showing Robert’s wannabe songs as trash or potential hits; Gina’s professional approach to personal advice as tactful or insensitive bullying; Elliott as a kind, thoughtful man or boring; Hugo as Ash’s equal in musical brilliance or as the wrecking-ball to others’ careers.
Ah, Hugo. My favourite character, a mountain of a man.
If you’ve ever peeked behind the scenes at a rock concert, or wanted to; if you want to understand what makes people click and clash; if you want an adventure where you get to climb Everest and wonder whether life will ever be the same, then this is the novel for you. It’s among the best I’ve read this year and this is a great year!