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In this mesmerizing debut, a young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth. Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. P In this mesmerizing debut, a young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth. Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. Prichard of Twyning Hooper, Solicitors, in London and news that could change Tristan's life forever. In 1924, Prichard explains, an English alpinist named Ashley Walsingham died attempting to summit Mt. Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson. But the estate was never claimed. Information has recently surfaced suggesting Tristan may be the rightful heir, but unless he can find documented evidence, the fortune will be divided among charitable beneficiaries in less than two months. In a breathless race from London archives to Somme battlefields to the Eastfjords of Iceland, Tristan pieces together the story of a forbidden affair set against the tumult of the First World War and the pioneer British expeditions to Mt. Everest. Following his instincts through a maze of frenzied research, Tristan soon becomes obsessed with the tragic lovers, and he crosses paths with a mysterious French girl named Mireille who suggests there is more to his quest than he realizes. Tristan must prove that he is related to Imogen to inherit Ashley's fortune but the more he learns about the couple, the stranger his journey becomes. The Steady Running of the Hour announces the arrival of a stunningly talented author. Part love story, part historical tour de force, Justin Go's novel is utterly compelling, unpredictable, and heartrending.


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In this mesmerizing debut, a young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth. Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. P In this mesmerizing debut, a young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth. Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. Prichard of Twyning Hooper, Solicitors, in London and news that could change Tristan's life forever. In 1924, Prichard explains, an English alpinist named Ashley Walsingham died attempting to summit Mt. Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson. But the estate was never claimed. Information has recently surfaced suggesting Tristan may be the rightful heir, but unless he can find documented evidence, the fortune will be divided among charitable beneficiaries in less than two months. In a breathless race from London archives to Somme battlefields to the Eastfjords of Iceland, Tristan pieces together the story of a forbidden affair set against the tumult of the First World War and the pioneer British expeditions to Mt. Everest. Following his instincts through a maze of frenzied research, Tristan soon becomes obsessed with the tragic lovers, and he crosses paths with a mysterious French girl named Mireille who suggests there is more to his quest than he realizes. Tristan must prove that he is related to Imogen to inherit Ashley's fortune but the more he learns about the couple, the stranger his journey becomes. The Steady Running of the Hour announces the arrival of a stunningly talented author. Part love story, part historical tour de force, Justin Go's novel is utterly compelling, unpredictable, and heartrending.

30 review for The Steady Running of the Hour

  1. 5 out of 5

    karen

    i feel like i may have missed something here. this is not the kind of book i would ordinarily read, but i had heard such overwhelmingly good things about it, i requested it from the netgalley. and there are a lot of things i enjoyed about this book, but at the same time, i can't help feeling like i am missing a chunk of the story. i used to be such a good close reader; someone who remembered every little detail and didn't need the answers telegraphed and actually enjoyed books like Infinite Jest, i feel like i may have missed something here. this is not the kind of book i would ordinarily read, but i had heard such overwhelmingly good things about it, i requested it from the netgalley. and there are a lot of things i enjoyed about this book, but at the same time, i can't help feeling like i am missing a chunk of the story. i used to be such a good close reader; someone who remembered every little detail and didn't need the answers telegraphed and actually enjoyed books like Infinite Jest, with their proud lack of resolution, leaving plenty of detail up to the reader. but with this one, i feel like a second reading is in order, or one that is less fragmented in terms of how much time i am able to devote to it in one reading session. at the same time, some of the fault has to lie with the book itself, because few people have enough time to read a nearly 500 page book in one gulp. and i don't know for sure - maybe it is meant to be ambiguous, but i can't help feeling that i missed some important connection along the way when i was reading it through my illness or my exhaustion. note to self - save the more detail-rich books for when you are in tip-top shape and read short stories before bed with your heavy heavy eyes. it is still a very good book, despite my niggling sense of having sleepily dropped the ball somewhere along the way. it has a sort of magical fairy tale element to it: tristan is living in california when he receives a letter from a solicitor in london, from whom he learns that he may be the beneficiary of a sizable fortune if he can prove that he is the legitimate heir - the great-grandson - of an alpinist and WWI veteran named ashley walsingham and a woman named imogen soames-andersson. but he is not permitted to tell anyone about the potential fortune, and he will himself be responsible for providing the proof in less than two months time. the fortune (whose details cannot be revealed to him at this time) has remained unclaimed for 80 years, after walsingham died leaving it all to imogen, from whom he was separated at the time and who had apparently gone missing. if tristan is unable to prove his claim, the money will be distributed amongst various charitable organizations. no problem, right? solve an 80-year-old missing persons case with no formal training or assistance, tell no one, and somehow find a letter, a birth announcement, a confession, from a woman who had vanished without a trace in any one of the many lovely cities of england, germany, france, or iceland. but the solicitor is rooting for him, and as tristan travels from city to city, burning through his savings, reporting his meager progress, making wrong turns and finding leads that go nowhere, he uncovers a ton of fascinating circumstantial evidence, but nothing solid. along the way, he meets many people who are coincidentally able to help him with his mission, and most importantly, he meets a woman in france named mireille, who begs him to give up his quest for answers and stay with her. while his story is unfolding, we are also introduced to imogen and ashley; tristan's possible great-grandparents; a couple who are allowed one brief week of young love together before ashley heads off into the war, despite imogen begging him to stay with her. so we have two men, forced to choose between the possibility of love and happiness and their own sense of duty. tristan is a passionate student of history, and his search is less about the money (although that is of course a factor) and more about finding the truth, and ashley feels it is his responsibility to fight for his country, despite his deep new love for imogen. the narratives weave together, and imogen and ashley's story is terrific. i would have loved the book if it had just been their story. ashley's experiences in the war are horrifying and very real, and imogen's difficult decisions are heartbreaking. at one point in their time apart, she writes ashley's name in the snow, and although that should be completely cheesy, it works - given the circumstances, it is completely lovely and fitting, and contributes to the whole theme of the reliance we have upon written documents to understand anything at all about the past. and of course, how those written documents so rarely tell the whole truth. the book does all the things that drive me crazy in literature: the conversations left unsaid, the lies told out of not generosity, but something close, and all those things that make it really really hard for tristan to prove his claim. but it's okay, because despite all the ominous warnings and cautions, and all the obstacles, somehow tristan is going to keep meeting kind people who will guide him to the next clue. which is completely unrealistic, but the fairy tale tone of the book was not a problem to me- but you gotta be willing to commit to the story that is being told without asking questions with your common-sense mind. my major gripe is with mireille. her relationship with tristan, which is written as entirely platonic, but with possibilities, doesn't wash with her asking him to give up his quest and stay with her. under the veil of the fairy-tale convention, implementing rules-of-archetype, it makes perfect sense, but most readers are going to see the request as ridiculous - why would someone give up the possibility of fortune or the answers to their family history for a stranger from whom no real promises have been extracted? and this relationship that seems to develop in their time apart was never convincing. it's true she gets some of the best lines: Mireille says she believes that to be more interested in people because they lived long ago or because they suffered greatly is a mistake. She tells me that people still suffer greatly now, and that in any case one must not admire suffering or loss, because life is brief and time spent dwelling on things that have already passed is surely wasted. She says that even love can sometimes be a mistake, and that perhaps this vanished love of Ashley and Imogen's had been a wasted one. She asks if a person could truly love someone they had not seen for so long, and for whom they had so little reason to harbor such wild affection. -Pendant des années, she says. Pas la moindre raison. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between love and longing, Mireille says, but they are not at all the same thing, and while one is worth very much, the other is always wasted. and this phrase, upon which the entire story seems to hinge, because of the circumstances of its later repetition (see, i can still close-read a little!): The past or the future will never be there with you, she says. You'll only ever have what you have right now. Not any more or any less. Ni plus ni moins. and i understand that the book is very much about choices, and about a willingness to let oneself be worn to the bone, to suffer and sacrifice to achieve a personal goal - the purity of giving and enduring until everything else has been pared away. as ashley muses when he is about to climb everest: Accomplishing nothing save some indulgent acrobatics of the ego. Climbing a mountain just to say you've done it. Ashley strains to remember how it had been different in the early years, when he had loved simply to be among wild places, without the need to compete against them. Had the war changed this? That was too facile, for he had always loved to win, and yet this obsession with conquest seemed to have come after the war - not even conquest but only the prevention of failure, anything but a surrender to the superior forces that enveloped him. It is a great mistake, Ashley knows. But if he does not go on - if he loses nerve or his courage falters - he will be unable to stand himself. He fears that most of all, more than death even. and that is how tristan feels, although his stakes are decidedly lower than what ashley endured during his everest climb. and it is a theme i appreciate, and i liked so much of this book (but mostly ashley and imogen) and i loved the hope and hopelessness and the bread crumb trail through history but then i got to the end and i was like, wait, what? seriously? which may or may not have been my fault. read it, and then you tell me. come to my blog!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    This book suffers from a lot of the critiques others have described--long, overly detailed descriptions that seem to lead nowhere, slow pacing, etc. But that could all be overlooked, in my opinion, with a different ending. (SPOILER ALERT) Despite the text dragging in some places, I eagerly zipped through hundreds of pages to see how the mystery would be resolved, what clever stroke of genius or luck would reveal Imogen's fate and prove Charlotte's parentage, and then . . . nothing. All that buil This book suffers from a lot of the critiques others have described--long, overly detailed descriptions that seem to lead nowhere, slow pacing, etc. But that could all be overlooked, in my opinion, with a different ending. (SPOILER ALERT) Despite the text dragging in some places, I eagerly zipped through hundreds of pages to see how the mystery would be resolved, what clever stroke of genius or luck would reveal Imogen's fate and prove Charlotte's parentage, and then . . . nothing. All that build up and then we don't even get to know what happens in the room with the ancient woman (found so conveniently). Can't remember being so annoyed or disappointed in a book in ages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    There are some books where having unanswered questions at the end is OK because the writing style was so engaging or the characters so memorable. This is not that kind of book. This book is overly long, overly detailed about the wrong things (there is, for example, a several paragraph long description of the main character waiting in line for the bathroom), and ultimately unsatisfying to the reader who expects the central mystery to be resolved in any sort of fashion. Huge disappointment.

  4. 5 out of 5

    B the BookAddict

    In his writing debut, The Steady Running of the Hour, a part love story, part WWI story and part ancestral search, Justin Go has molded a fine novel that is well worth reading. A chance meeting in 1916 in London and two young people, Ashley and Imogen, become lovers for a week culminating with Ashley’s embarkation to France. The repercussions of this week will change the course and affect the outcome of both their lives. Eighty years later, Tristan receives notification that he might be the recip In his writing debut, The Steady Running of the Hour, a part love story, part WWI story and part ancestral search, Justin Go has molded a fine novel that is well worth reading. A chance meeting in 1916 in London and two young people, Ashley and Imogen, become lovers for a week culminating with Ashley’s embarkation to France. The repercussions of this week will change the course and affect the outcome of both their lives. Eighty years later, Tristan receives notification that he might be the recipient of a huge fortune, with one stipulation; he must prove he is a descendent of Imogen. Tristan’s search for his elusive ancestor is a two-month race against time from America, through London, France, Germany and Iceland; the outcome is totally unexpected. Justin Go captures a reader’s attention with his evocative and stunning portrayal of the battle of the Somme. In his Acknowledgements, he notes inspiration from the lives and works of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Howard Sommerville among others. This inspiration is quite evident in the novel and these soldiers/writers/alpinists would be pleased with his efforts. Go’s awe-inspiring representation of Ashley on his trek in one of the pioneer British expedients to Mount Everest is breathtaking. The love story and correspondence between Ashley and Imogen is both moving and heartfelt. They find themselves in a web, which is very much a real portrayal of the emotion of the times. Readers should be prepared they will not necessarily get the ending they want or expect in the final pages of this novel. This is one of the better debuts I have read in the last few years and I’m at a loss to understand it’s only moderate rating on Goodreads. In my opinion, Justin Go can take his place as an author whose debut novel not only delivers a great read, you can be sure his subsequent offerings will be as good if not better. Recommended Reading 4.5★

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kevin McAllister

    For the most part, I enjoyed reading this book despite the fact that both love stories contained in the novel were a bit on the corny side. So the ending came as a surprise to me. Now, I've got nothing against surprise endings, if they turn out to make sense. But this ending was horrible. The narrator is standing at a locked door. He has the key, and upon entering it,will find all the answers to his quest. He puts the key in the lock, and then bam, that's it . We the reader have absolutely no id For the most part, I enjoyed reading this book despite the fact that both love stories contained in the novel were a bit on the corny side. So the ending came as a surprise to me. Now, I've got nothing against surprise endings, if they turn out to make sense. But this ending was horrible. The narrator is standing at a locked door. He has the key, and upon entering it,will find all the answers to his quest. He puts the key in the lock, and then bam, that's it . We the reader have absolutely no idea what happened in that room. All that buildup and then absolutely no resolution. Uh, Justin Go, no one likes a tease.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jimena

    I would like to know if anybody knows the end of this story. Perhaps I am not clever enough and missed the conclusion but I in fact missed how the story ends, even though I finished the book. Needless to say, I am very disappointed and sad I spent so much time and money on this and see that I really did not get it. There are so many wrong things with this book, I do not know even where to start. I shall say the overly detailed description of insignificant events, moments, etc. One thinks that th I would like to know if anybody knows the end of this story. Perhaps I am not clever enough and missed the conclusion but I in fact missed how the story ends, even though I finished the book. Needless to say, I am very disappointed and sad I spent so much time and money on this and see that I really did not get it. There are so many wrong things with this book, I do not know even where to start. I shall say the overly detailed description of insignificant events, moments, etc. One thinks that these may be critical to understand the story, but no, that is not the case. There are so many "needy" characters, so many flawed sequence of events, poor choices, lack of flow in the order of things told in this book. There is no substance except for the fact that the most critical issue brought on by this book: providing evidence to claim the estate by Tristan, was never revealed to the reader. There is also another big problem: we never learn what happened to Imogen, nor do we learn what Tristan found in Iceland. Okay, those three unanswered questions leave a very bad taste in my mouth. I cannot recommend anybody to read this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    [3.5 stars] From purely an enjoyment perspective, this was a great read. It was incredibly engaging, was very cinematic (it would make a great movie or mini series), and made me want to travel to all the places in which it's set. I was very compelled by the plot and enjoyed seeing how all the information was revealed. However, I found the main character pretty flat; he has virtually no personality and is essentially just a vehicle for the plot. I thought Imogen was the most intriguing characters b [3.5 stars] From purely an enjoyment perspective, this was a great read. It was incredibly engaging, was very cinematic (it would make a great movie or mini series), and made me want to travel to all the places in which it's set. I was very compelled by the plot and enjoyed seeing how all the information was revealed. However, I found the main character pretty flat; he has virtually no personality and is essentially just a vehicle for the plot. I thought Imogen was the most intriguing characters but we see her the least of any of the main characters. And some of the plot points were very convenient, even unbelievably so at times. I can usually suspend my disbelief, especially if other parts of the book make up for it, but in the end it just didn't have that oomph that I want when I finish a book. Still, a really fast-paced, interesting read that is perfect for fans of historical fiction with multiple timelines and literary mysteries.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This debut novel leaves me with rather mixed emotions as I close the back cover. The premise provides a strong initial hook - a young California man receives a call from a London law firm that relays to him that he may be eligible to inherit a vast fortune, but only if he can prove that his grandmother’s parentage is other than what the legal documents show. In alternating chapters, the modern search coincides with the love story of a young shipping magnate heir and mountain climber, Ashley, and This debut novel leaves me with rather mixed emotions as I close the back cover. The premise provides a strong initial hook - a young California man receives a call from a London law firm that relays to him that he may be eligible to inherit a vast fortune, but only if he can prove that his grandmother’s parentage is other than what the legal documents show. In alternating chapters, the modern search coincides with the love story of a young shipping magnate heir and mountain climber, Ashley, and his rather unconventional lover, Imogen. The pair spend one fateful week together before Ashley joins the front lines in France during World War I. He dies in 1924 atop Mount Everest, leaving his fortune behind in a legally ambiguous will to Imogen - or her descendants. As Tristan pieces together these lives and their romance, he travels across Europe to provide the proof he needs to inherit the fortune. He has incredible luck finding vestiges of their lives - letters, and other memorabilia of their lives. With the various locales - England, Sweden, France, Germany, Iceland - the modern and historical changes in setting add to the excitement. The book - and both plotlines - moves along at a fairly fast pace for such a bulky book. The research adds authenticity to both timelines and settings. But, I must admit, the romance (in both the modern and historical periods) never feels as convincing. The characters and their motivations seem oddly shrouded in mystery (particularly the actions and reactions of the female characters) which makes it difficult to truly connect with any of them. And while I do like some aspects of the ending, this is a bit too open-ended for my tastes. It just ends so abruptly - which is surprising considering the page count getting to this rather flimsy conclusion. This does spoil the novel a bit for me, and despite its impressive research, the ending leaves me dissatisfied.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    Thanks to Goodreads and Simon & Schuster for the Advance Reader's Copy. My deepest apology. I'm unfortunately putting this book down after a little over a 100 pages. Let me be clear, the abandonment is not entirely the book's fault. I wanted to like this, and I wanted to read it, otherwise I wouldn't have signed up for the giveaway. I also think this book has the potential to be beloved by many. It wasn't a bad start. "I knew when I touched the envelope that it was fine stationery. I knew from t Thanks to Goodreads and Simon & Schuster for the Advance Reader's Copy. My deepest apology. I'm unfortunately putting this book down after a little over a 100 pages. Let me be clear, the abandonment is not entirely the book's fault. I wanted to like this, and I wanted to read it, otherwise I wouldn't have signed up for the giveaway. I also think this book has the potential to be beloved by many. It wasn't a bad start. "I knew when I touched the envelope that it was fine stationery. I knew from the paper, the porous surface of pure cotton rag; the watermark that shone through as I held it to the light. The letter is in my bag in the overhead compartment, but I imagine the cream fibers, the feel of the engraved letter." Justin Go can write. I actually found his writing to be skilled and somewhat compelling. And the story is obviously intriguing. Tristan Campbell is a young American in the present day. He discovers that he is the sole heir to a fortune from his great-grandparents, Ashley Walsingham and Imogen Soames-Andersson. However, he must first irrefutably prove his relation. He goes on a global quest to uncover the truth, but he only has 8 weeks before the inheritance expires. The story is complicated because Ashley and Imogen never really married. They more or less had a fling, and the baby (Tristan’s now deceased grandmother) is raised by Imogen’s sister. Ashley dies trying to climb Mount Everest, thus ending the relationship or hope of marriage. This isn’t a spoiler, as it’s all revealed in the initial chapters. Here’s the thing. This book will make an excellent film. I almost felt as if I was reading a script with blocking. It’s big on dialogue and almost entirely plot-driven. The characters are either talking or the prose is telling you exactly what each character is doing. “A few minutes later I walk out into the afternoon sun, heading back toward the train station. It was beyond stupid. I’d stacked guesses on top of guesses because I wanted to believe in them, because I wanted to believe I could find something other people couldn’t.” At the crux is a tragic love story complete with action and intrigue. Unfortunately, I don’t want a story right now. I don’t want to go on an exciting journey. Also, I don’t want to read an eventual movie script, unless it’s labeled as such and maybe I'm paid to. I realize that’s not the book’s fault. It’s mine. Here’s the honest to goodness truth. I don’t want to finish reading this book because I don’t care anymore what happens, and after 100 pages I feel like I should care. Especially if I have 380 pages left. Ok, I’m not sure why I keep lying. The real reason I want to put this book down is because I just read this article in The NYTimes about Karl Ove Knausgaard: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/201... In the article, it’s mentioned that writer, Nicole Krauss, recently held a public talk with Knausgaard: “Ms. Krauss said she was “sick of plot and characters and dialogue and scenes and climax and resolution” in traditional novels, and that Mr. Knausgaard had “reinvented and surpassed the form of the novel” through “radical attentiveness.” Mr. Knausgaard said he shared her fatigue with more conventional stories. “Form is, in a way, death,” he said. “A novelist’s obligation is to break free from the form, even though he knows that this will also be seen as artificial and distanced from life.” The truth is, I have Min kamp 1 & Min kamp 2 on my desk as I type this. They are calling my name and I don’t want to wait anymore. And why should I? Is that fair to Steady Running of the Go? No. But, in my defense, running steadily through a formula isn’t fair to me, either. I want to run free.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Leonard

    This book was far too long and far too good to end the way it did. The final 30 pages were so disappointing that I have already forgotten why I loved the first 435 pages so much.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an review. The expected publication date is April 15 2014. I wanted to like this book, I really did. The synopsis sounded intriguing and right up my alley. Unfortunately the story fell short for me. While it had some good "bones" to the story I found that it lacked the structure to keep me interested. It is almost like the story suffered an identity crisis and did not know what direction it should tak I received a copy of this book from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an review. The expected publication date is April 15 2014. I wanted to like this book, I really did. The synopsis sounded intriguing and right up my alley. Unfortunately the story fell short for me. While it had some good "bones" to the story I found that it lacked the structure to keep me interested. It is almost like the story suffered an identity crisis and did not know what direction it should take. To offer some constructive criticism the story was simply too long and focused on the wrong parts of the story. The descriptions of the war and the climbing expeditions could have been shortened or eliminated all together as they brought no real value to the storyline. At times I was forcing myself to get through these parts. I think that simplifying the story and focusing on the main point would have resulted in a much better read. I still really don't know what the story was supposed to be telling me. I will not give away the plot as the synopsis loosely explains the story. I will summarize that the story seems to centralize around a wild goose chase that I am apparently still on as I try to decipher what I just spent the last few hours reading. I hate when I give a review that is not very favorable but alas I promised an honest review when the book was provided to me. While I think that Go has potential I feel he fell short on this endeavor. I can not recommend this book

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I was so excited to read this book. I saw the author read at a bookstore just after it was published; it sounded great, and obviously he had really sweated the details of his research. Unfortunately, this book took on way too many genres (hero quest, treasure hunt, time shifting, love story, millennial angst, I could go on) without succeeding at any of them. Others have commented on the lack of any ending; the author evidently decided he would appear more sophisticated if he failed to resolve an I was so excited to read this book. I saw the author read at a bookstore just after it was published; it sounded great, and obviously he had really sweated the details of his research. Unfortunately, this book took on way too many genres (hero quest, treasure hunt, time shifting, love story, millennial angst, I could go on) without succeeding at any of them. Others have commented on the lack of any ending; the author evidently decided he would appear more sophisticated if he failed to resolve any of his story lines. Another commenter here compared it to "The English Patient," but to me it seemed almost derivative of Ondaatje's "Divisadero," a book I absolutely hated and can't see why anyone would want to emulate. But the worst thing about this book were the female characters. I felt like both the female characters were written by a high school boy in a same sex boarding school who never spent any time with real women. They were overwrought and manipulative, and oddly vague. No one would ever make the choices they made, or treat men they "loved" they way they did. This young man has promise, but this book is overhyped and disappointing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After reading this book , I must conclude that I am a very conventional reader. I like books with beginnings, middles and endings. Where is the ending or more accurately the conclusion of this book? I re-read the last few chapters. Did I miss important information that would let me logically deduce a conclusion to the mystery. Apparently not. The book was meticulously researched. The author was slightly verbose, though that could be overlooked for the mystery storyline. The idea was intriguing e After reading this book , I must conclude that I am a very conventional reader. I like books with beginnings, middles and endings. Where is the ending or more accurately the conclusion of this book? I re-read the last few chapters. Did I miss important information that would let me logically deduce a conclusion to the mystery. Apparently not. The book was meticulously researched. The author was slightly verbose, though that could be overlooked for the mystery storyline. The idea was intriguing enough to keep me reading but then poof! I know little more than when I began even though I read almost 500 pages. Like Ashley Walsingham , I never reached the summit.Interesting , as far as it goes.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Lord

    After the long, bitter winter of 2014 this might have been titled, ‘The Steady Running of My Nose.’ Tristan Campbell, recent college graduate (in history, Mother would have said, “Oh how … useful”) discovers he’s due to collect a fat ass inheritance from a relative he never knew. Sound good? You’re thinking maybe a new car or a blitz on Vegas, but the trip that debut author Go has in mind for readers is quite different. His writing style is likeable, accessible, and immediate. But the very mello After the long, bitter winter of 2014 this might have been titled, ‘The Steady Running of My Nose.’ Tristan Campbell, recent college graduate (in history, Mother would have said, “Oh how … useful”) discovers he’s due to collect a fat ass inheritance from a relative he never knew. Sound good? You’re thinking maybe a new car or a blitz on Vegas, but the trip that debut author Go has in mind for readers is quite different. His writing style is likeable, accessible, and immediate. But the very mellowness that is so attractive also winds up imbuing the book with a lack of focus. It will take quite a few vague pages, for example, for readers to discern that the odd questions that the lawyers are peppering Tristan with (e.g., “…are you familiar with the Mount Everest expeditions of the 1920s?” p.12) indicate that the Walsingham estate isn’t quite ready to collect. See, Tristan’s possible distant relative left his estate to his concubine, but it was never claimed. Tristan has only seven weeks to establish his rightful claim to the money before the mechanism expires. Flip back in time 90 years and readers meet rock climber Ashley Walsingham messing about in the Peak District— smack dab in the middle of England— on a macho, men-are-men adventure. Like Tristan, Ashley is a bit rootless, searching for his identity. Both are driven by curiosity and the desire to know themselves, rather than for fortune or fame. Their stories parallel; both take trips, which ground and help them figure out who they are. Both meet young chicks (Mireille and Imogen, respectively. Where the hell did Go come up with all these names, anyway?). As Tristan traipses all over Europe to prove his birthright, Ashley toys with death while traipsing about on Everest. And if it’s not a sweeping epic-mystery-love story like The English Patient, it’s also not a zany comic romp like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World. VERDICT This is pretty damned good. I think readers will respond to Go’s overreaching—the book’s chief appeal is that it doesn’t play it safe. That said, readers will know within the first 15 pages if they want to stick with it. Skip it if you need lots of plot facts or are unwilling to let your imagination take over from time to time. One last thing—readers who sometimes flip to the end of the book to get the ending should do that here as it will make it easy to determine if one wants to read the first 479 pages. Find this review and others at Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal. Copyright Library Journal.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenee Rager

    I was excited to win this book through the goodreads giveaway. Unfortunately a good portion of the book did not live up to the hype of winning. The book starts off very slow. The first 50 or so pages are kind of confusing and dull. It does pick up after that but it never really hits the stride I was hoping for. I think the main problem is that the story seems to be having an identity crisis... is it a romance? Is it a mystery? Or maybe a book about war, or mountain climbing? All in all it's a li I was excited to win this book through the goodreads giveaway. Unfortunately a good portion of the book did not live up to the hype of winning. The book starts off very slow. The first 50 or so pages are kind of confusing and dull. It does pick up after that but it never really hits the stride I was hoping for. I think the main problem is that the story seems to be having an identity crisis... is it a romance? Is it a mystery? Or maybe a book about war, or mountain climbing? All in all it's a little bit of each, and yet it masters none of the genres. It is most successful on the romance/mystery attempts in my opinion. I personally liked the stories about Tristan trying to track down his possible great-grandparents 80 years after the fact, and also quite possibly falling in love himself. To me where the book got most bogged down was the chapters about the mountain climb. They seriously added nothing to the story. As a reader I was fine just knowing that Ashley attempted to climb Mt. Everest and died doing so and thus the trust went into effect. I didn't care what he ate on the mountain, or how cold it was, or what they wore, all of that was boring and didn't add a single thing to the story. The one question someone may have had, how did he actually die up there, is never answered so why talk about the mountain climb at all? The ending, or lack there of, of this story is also frustrating for me. After all the time you still don't really know what happened to Isobelle. Is she the woman in Iceland or not? The story just ends and left me at least looking to make sure I wasn't some how missing crucial pieces that would give the story a more satisfying ending.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ace Varkey

    I absolutely loved the premise of this novel: young man finds out he can inherit a large fortune -- but in order to do so, must prove he is the descendent of a particular individual. A great device, I thought, because it also allows for travel, as he does, as well as excavation of the past. As a lover of Wilfrid Owen, I was particularly drawn to the title. The author marries his love of mountaineering with WWI, which I figured was a winning combination. But as the book continued, I found too man I absolutely loved the premise of this novel: young man finds out he can inherit a large fortune -- but in order to do so, must prove he is the descendent of a particular individual. A great device, I thought, because it also allows for travel, as he does, as well as excavation of the past. As a lover of Wilfrid Owen, I was particularly drawn to the title. The author marries his love of mountaineering with WWI, which I figured was a winning combination. But as the book continued, I found too many implausible events, many of which could have been avoided. I won't go into specifics because I don't want to ruin things for other readers, but at every instance in his search, there was something that made me say,"Really?" I must end with the the fact that I read the ending twice. I still don't get it. It felt as if I had bitten into a dessert which sounded great when I ordered it, but then, when I tasted it, not only did I dislike the flavor, I also could not tell which flavor it was!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    A beautifully written and engrossing story, but totally disappointing in the end. The level of detail was impressive, though I agree with the comments that the focus was sometimes misplaced (lengthy descriptions of the bathroom line and park settings, while glossing over the characters' feelings and motivations.) The lack of closure brought this story down a full star for me. Tristan's entire journey was for nothing. I assume the point of his quest was to show his growth as an individual; he deci A beautifully written and engrossing story, but totally disappointing in the end. The level of detail was impressive, though I agree with the comments that the focus was sometimes misplaced (lengthy descriptions of the bathroom line and park settings, while glossing over the characters' feelings and motivations.) The lack of closure brought this story down a full star for me. Tristan's entire journey was for nothing. I assume the point of his quest was to show his growth as an individual; he decided to live in the present (by mooching off a French woman he'd known a few days?), instead of burying himself in the past. OK. Good for him. It still seemed complete crap that we weren't even shown his conversation with the old, maybe-Swedish, woman. There wasn't even enough to make a satisfactory inference about the ending. Blah. Frustrating.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chaitra

    I've read other reviews, and I agree with the ones giving this book a low rating. It's an overly long, pointless exercise about the pointlessness of human endeavor. It's pretty apt that way, but not endearing, given how much time I wasted trying to get through it. I'm by habit a complete reader, as in, I cannot skim. This is helpful when reading other books, but this one - what I wouldn't give to be able to skim. The book is bloated with minute details of World War I, and of mountaineering. I'm I've read other reviews, and I agree with the ones giving this book a low rating. It's an overly long, pointless exercise about the pointlessness of human endeavor. It's pretty apt that way, but not endearing, given how much time I wasted trying to get through it. I'm by habit a complete reader, as in, I cannot skim. This is helpful when reading other books, but this one - what I wouldn't give to be able to skim. The book is bloated with minute details of World War I, and of mountaineering. I'm a war buff, so I didn't mind the former, but I did mind the latter. Especially as it comes towards the tail end of the book when it really should have been working towards a resolution. But I do think it had a resolution -(view spoiler)[Imogen isn't dead, so the claim to the estate isn't legally Tristan's. So the money wasn't ever his (hide spoiler)] . In fact, I thought it quite good. (I'm going to pretend my supposition is correct). My extra star is for that, as well as the detail in the historical portion, whether excruciating or not. The docked stars is all for the length and bad characters. Tristan, who doesn't have what can be vaguely termed a personality. Ashley, who thinks he wants something without him knowing that something at all (be it Imogen or the mountain or Iram). The two heroines who do not act remotely lovable. Needy Mireille who harps on and on at Tristan asking him to ditch a quest that is important to him and come back to her. This is ridiculous not only because she's unbelievably selfish but also because there truly isn't anything between them. Then there's Imogen. I didn't understand her motivations at all. She's terrified that Ashley won't survive the war, so she leaves him. Then he survives the war and she still stays gone, because it's somehow his fault that he chose not to desert his men. This is so weird and bratty and entitled - it's not as if he went climbing mountain after mountain and left her alone. And yet, instead of saying good riddance, Ashley waxes eloquent about how he didn't know what he had and how he lost it. Come again? What would he have wanted to do retrospectively? Desert? When millions of people died doing their duty to their countries? Right, that would certainly put him at ease with his conscience. That is why I can't see the true love premise as anything but wrong and stupid. There is a chapter, I've forgotten the name of it already, where Eleanor tells Imogen how childish and irresponsible she's being, and all through that I went, Go Ellie! But it might as well have not happened at all, given how much difference it made. So, the central romance in the book is silly and a contrived tragedy. The quest itself is hardly exciting, given its fairy tale-ish quality - you just know Tristan will encounter exactly the someone or something that will help him move forward into the quest. Until the final step in Iceland, I hardly felt an investment. The characters were opaque - I didn't know what they wanted, what moved them. Although, credit where credit is due - I really can't complain about either the language or the detail. Both are very good. Had this one of the following - better characters or a shorter length, I would have liked it a lot more than I did. As it was, it was a chore to finish. 2 stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    Tristan Campbell, a recent college graduate, is notified by secretive London solicitors, that he may be heir to a huge fortune. All he has to do is prove that he is the great-grandson of Ashley Walsingham, a World War I officer and mountaineer, and Imogen Soames-Andersson, a wealthy Bohemian. And he has less than two months to prove this biological connection. He sets off across Europe tracing the footsteps of the two people who may be his ancestors. The chapters alternate between past and prese Tristan Campbell, a recent college graduate, is notified by secretive London solicitors, that he may be heir to a huge fortune. All he has to do is prove that he is the great-grandson of Ashley Walsingham, a World War I officer and mountaineer, and Imogen Soames-Andersson, a wealthy Bohemian. And he has less than two months to prove this biological connection. He sets off across Europe tracing the footsteps of the two people who may be his ancestors. The chapters alternate between past and present. In the present, the reader follows Tristan in his backpacking across Europe. In the past, we have the romance between Imogen and Ashley and the latter’s experiences in World War I and in an expedition climbing Everest. There are certainly parallels between the two stories: Ashley and Tristan are both obsessed – Ashley with climbing the world’s tallest mountain and Tristan with uncovering the truth. The two also have to choose between love and what they perceive to be their duty, a choice forced on them by the women in their lives. It is these women who arouse my ire with the author. They are anything but fully developed realistic characters. Both Imogen and Mireille, Tristan’s love interest, are vague in their motivations and selfish and manipulative. Tristan meets Mireille in France and they strike up a platonic friendship, though with some intimations of further possibilities, and she pleads with him to abandon his quest. Since their relationship is not developed into some great love affair, her pleas come across as those of an overwrought harpy. Imogen’s behaviour is also unconvincing; one can understand her fear that Ashley will be killed in the war, but when he survives, her treatment of him seems just bizarre. Another issue with the novel is that there are just too many improbabilities. Just as Tristan reaches a dead end, he encounters someone who, despite the locale, speaks perfect English and is able to provide another vital clue. These chance meetings even allow him to find documents. Tristan acknowledges the unlikelihood of his finds: “Surely it is beyond all notions of luck to have found those letters.” Later, he adds, “It was impossible. It required the gathering of whole constellations, a harvest of countless stars funneled into a single cup and rolled out, a pair of sixes, a million times in perfect succession.” But we are to believe that “If it seemed improbable, maybe that was only [our] own narrowness of vision”?! And then there’s the ending or lack thereof. The author gives so much detail about unimportant events, but then abandons the book. His cutting away from the locked room in remotest Iceland is inexcusable. I can certainly guess as to what happened, but to take a reader on a long and detailed search only to leave him/her adrift at the end reeks of manipulation. This book tries to be a love story, a mystery, and an adventure quest. Unfortunately, it is not successful as any of these. The romances do not come across as believable. The secrecy around the mysterious will is also questionable. And the pace for an adventure quest is just too slow. I regret the steady running of the hours wasted on reading this novel. Please check out my reader's blog (http://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Natasa

    I liked the concept of this book, but the writing style was hard to follow. He seemed all over the place in both plot and characters. I almost put it down a few times, but ended up finishing it. The ending was rather dull.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Overmoyer

    Novels that set out to tell the story of two people, or rather two pairs of people, living decades apart don’t always succeed in telling a succinct and interesting story. The problems of tying to stories together and creating something that makes the reader want to read two more chapters again and again just to make sure she finds out everything she can about both people is a daunting task. For Justin Go, it doesn’t seem so hard. There has been hype about THE STEADY RUNNING OF THE HOUR and Go liv Novels that set out to tell the story of two people, or rather two pairs of people, living decades apart don’t always succeed in telling a succinct and interesting story. The problems of tying to stories together and creating something that makes the reader want to read two more chapters again and again just to make sure she finds out everything she can about both people is a daunting task. For Justin Go, it doesn’t seem so hard. There has been hype about THE STEADY RUNNING OF THE HOUR and Go lives up to the hype with his twin tale of Ashley Walsingham and Tristan Campbell. Walsingham’s story is the more compelling of the two and Campbell is more of the vehicle by which the reader gets to see Walsingham. It changes the tone by making it seem as though the reader isn’t just watching Walsingham fight in the World War I trenches in France and climb Mount Everest but that the reader is helping Campbell search for evidence of Walsingham and the woman he loved while he did both those things. It makes the story more personal. That the novel is based on the idea of an eighty year unclaimed trust, with what can best be described as just a few too many legalistic descriptions about it, possibly belonging to Tristan Campbell – as the maybe heir to Walsingham’s estate – is a little bit shaky. It might have worked just as well to have Campbell be a historian who stumbled onto family letters and just wanted to find out the truth. Then again, seeing the modern man weigh the value of knowing the family he never really knew in life with the value of a priceless estate is a good way of moving things from one place to the next. It’s because of the parallels between Ashley in the first two decades of the 20th century and Tristan in the first two decades of the 21st that the story works. Both men are in their early twenties and both men dive headfirst into the thing which their society suggests they don’t. Neither cares for rules and neither particularly wants to follow them if it can be avoided. They know they are other things that are much more important, even if they can’t quite say why. The two supporting characters in the story are the women in the lives of the men. Mireille, the modern woman, is the lesser character but by far the better one. She shares an uncertainty with Imogen, the woman Ashley loves, but she doesn’t lash out against her insecurities as Imogen does. Instead, she lets Tristan do what he needs to do and hopes against hope that he’ll come back to her. Imogen throws away her world and everything in it because she can’t change the world to her liking. She’s selfish and she does suffer for it but it’s a part of the reason the reader may feel compassion for Ashley – he’s horribly treated by her and he loves her just the same. One story ends in a tragedy of sorts that will leave the reader feeling a little empty. One story ends in a hopefulness of sorts that will leave the reader feeling a little full. It’s an excellent balance to a very good story. (I received a copy of THE STEADY RUNNING OF THE HOUR through a Goodreads.com FirstReads giveaway. This review will be cross-posted on my blog and my Goodreads account.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steven Z.

    The events of the last few months have created a degree of escapism that I could never have foreseen. What was required was a novel that would take hold of my mind and carry me off to another place and absorb my emotions and attention. The void has been filled by Justin Go’s first novel, THE STEADY RUNNING OF THE HOUR, a story that is set during World War I and its aftermath and the period surrounding 2004. It is an absorbing and provocative story that parallels two men who are chasing life’s cr The events of the last few months have created a degree of escapism that I could never have foreseen. What was required was a novel that would take hold of my mind and carry me off to another place and absorb my emotions and attention. The void has been filled by Justin Go’s first novel, THE STEADY RUNNING OF THE HOUR, a story that is set during World War I and its aftermath and the period surrounding 2004. It is an absorbing and provocative story that parallels two men who are chasing life’s cruelty and happiness. Go does this by alternating chapters involving the two periods and focuses on a love affair that seems to have gone wrong for no apparent reason and a search for the roots of that love eighty years later as one of the author’s narrators tries to uncover what has gone wrong and how it will impact his future. These men are not related but they each face similar feelings and choices. The story begins in an intriguing fashion as Tristan Campbell, recently graduated from college with a degree in history and thinking about graduate school receives a letter from James Prichard a London solicitor. It seems that an estate that dates to 1924 has not been settled and he might be the heir. Campbell flies to London to learn the details and what is expected of him. It seems that Ashley Willingham who in 1913 at the age of seventeen inherited an enormous estate from his uncle George Ridley. Willingham who was adrift until he met Imogen Soames-Andersson spending a week with her falling deeply in love years later tells Mr. Prichard to alter his will seven days before he joins the British expedition that will climb Mount Everest. The link between Willingham and Campbell is that Imogen’s sister is Campbell’s great grandmother. The problem for Campbell is that he only has two months’ time to establish the link between his grandmother Charlotte Grafton who is possibly the daughter of Willingham and Imogen with himself. If he is able to do, he will inherit a large fortune. Willingham is quite a character. He and Imogen, who is charming and rebellious, the model of the post-Edwardian woman meet and fall in love a week before his departure. Once he crosses into France he is reported to have been killed at the Battle of the Somme, but days later he turns up alive recuperating in a French hospital. Imogen rushes to his side, something happens, and she disappears. Willingham is also an excellent mountain climber and he is chosen to be part of the Third British Expeditionary group that will try and climb Mount Everest. The attempt is made in 1924, but Willingham perishes. For Campbell proof that Charlotte was Willingham and Imogen’s child is rather sketchy and because of the limitations of the estate’s trust he must present sound documentation to qualify for the inheritance. Go takes Campbell on a dramatic chase to find evidence of his lineage encompassing travels to London, Paris Stockholm, the Swedish and French countryside, Berlin, and across Iceland. In doing so Campbell meets Mireille in a Parisian bar and begins to fall in love. At the outset Go has created so many characters from different time periods it can become a bit confusing. Perhaps a fictional family tree might be warranted. However, once you digest who is who and what role they play in the story you will become hooked and not want to put the book down as Go develops the love affair of the Bohemian Imogen and Ashley who is drawn to adventure. Go sends Campbell on somewhat of a wild goose chase to procure the evidence he needs. In exploring the relationship amongst his primary characters Go delves into the barbarity of war, Post Traumatic Stress disorder, and the human need for companionship, love, and excitement. Numerous examples pervade the story including the depravity of unleashing British soldiers into a no man’s land and their deaths. The letters between Ashley and Imogen describing their needs which should be enough for their relationship to endure, and Campbell’s confusion about life and what he hopes to accomplish dominate the story line. Go lays out many choices for his characters, a number of which are filled with irony as Willingham survives the Battle of the Somme and the remainder of the war only to die climbing Mount Everest – one might wonder if he suffered from a death wish. The attraction and pull of Everest in all of its awe is clear throughout Willingham’s dialogue and letters. Will conquering Everest allow him to recapture Imogen’s love? Go has the ability to maintain a state of tension even if the outcome is already known. He also has the ability to bring two historical periods together and mesh them with their characters, but in doing so he has not really explored the morality of the choices they make. If you seek an escapist novel that will make wonderful beach reading (if they open up) or just to fill time in a meaningful and entertaining manner, Go’s first novel is a winner. Since the book was published two years ago, I am hopeful he is hard at work on his next one!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tami Winbush

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this book due to the recommendation of a great friend of mine. I was certain it was going to be good due to the fact that the preview that I read was GRIPPING! I couldn't wait until the library or Amazon got the book in so I could devour it in one sitting. I have never been more wrong in my entire life. The first 1/3 of the book held me, switching back and forth from present day to WWII. Then it got to be a little old. I put the book down 2/3 of the way through and vowed I would not finish I read this book due to the recommendation of a great friend of mine. I was certain it was going to be good due to the fact that the preview that I read was GRIPPING! I couldn't wait until the library or Amazon got the book in so I could devour it in one sitting. I have never been more wrong in my entire life. The first 1/3 of the book held me, switching back and forth from present day to WWII. Then it got to be a little old. I put the book down 2/3 of the way through and vowed I would not finish the book. The book lover in me decided that I couldn't leave a book unread no matter how much I didn't care for it. So I read it all the way through to the end. I have never been so disappointed in my entire life. The ending literally SUCKED. OK, it can't literally suck since it's not a vacuum or black hole, but it was not good. If my boyfriend had not been in the bed asleep beside me when I finished the book I would have thrown it. What looked to be a promising start to a new career turned out to be a sad ending to a would be novel.

  24. 4 out of 5

    amy boese

    After binge reading YA novels for work as a youth services librarian, reading "the Steady Running" was like sitting down to a fancy meal having only eaten trail mix and candy for a week. This beautifully meandering work plots a story of exploration, youth, and loss. As Tris flounders to find direction for his life, he is drawn into an exploration of another time: the very real struggle for life in WW1 Europe. Does climbing mountains at risk of life and limb somehow validate the senseless loss and After binge reading YA novels for work as a youth services librarian, reading "the Steady Running" was like sitting down to a fancy meal having only eaten trail mix and candy for a week. This beautifully meandering work plots a story of exploration, youth, and loss. As Tris flounders to find direction for his life, he is drawn into an exploration of another time: the very real struggle for life in WW1 Europe. Does climbing mountains at risk of life and limb somehow validate the senseless loss and suffering in the trenches of France? Does studying history negate the need to live your own life and experience it first hand? A beautiful book, a lovely cerebral adventure story, an elegant read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    A truly marvelous read!! I was captivated! I couldn't put it down! I was totally caught up in the Ashley/Imogen love story and in the Tristan search for answers. Completely immersed!! I put up with the coincidences. I just sailed along for the ride. I ignored the veiled suggestions that the whole thing was a ruse. Meticulously researched. I went to the author's website and read his notes about this book and how it came to be written and how he literally walked in the shoes of the characters. I'm su A truly marvelous read!! I was captivated! I couldn't put it down! I was totally caught up in the Ashley/Imogen love story and in the Tristan search for answers. Completely immersed!! I put up with the coincidences. I just sailed along for the ride. I ignored the veiled suggestions that the whole thing was a ruse. Meticulously researched. I went to the author's website and read his notes about this book and how it came to be written and how he literally walked in the shoes of the characters. I'm sure you'll agree that reading this novel is time well spent! I read this ARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Robyn Grad

    I enjoyed the detail of the places and liked the idea that Tristan was drawn out of his comfort zone by the search. Where is his Isolde? Parts of it read like "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and "Into Thin Air" and reminiscent of Patrick Leigh Fermor travel stories. I read the entire book and enjoyed it enough to carry the hard copy on flights to Juneau and Denver.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    I'd rate this 3.5 stars. Tristan Campbell's life is fairly uneventful. He's not quite certain what he'd like to do with his future, and he's been drifting emotionally somewhat since the death of his mother to cancer. And then out of the blue, he receives a letter couriered from a prestigious law firm in London which says Tristan may be connected to the beneficiary of an estate, one which has yet to be distributed to its heirs. The law firm summons him to London (at their expense) as soon as possi I'd rate this 3.5 stars. Tristan Campbell's life is fairly uneventful. He's not quite certain what he'd like to do with his future, and he's been drifting emotionally somewhat since the death of his mother to cancer. And then out of the blue, he receives a letter couriered from a prestigious law firm in London which says Tristan may be connected to the beneficiary of an estate, one which has yet to be distributed to its heirs. The law firm summons him to London (at their expense) as soon as possible. From the attorneys, Tristan learns that in 1924, an Englishman named Ashley Walsingham died while on an expedition to climb Mount Everest. He had left his significant estate to a woman named Imogen Soames-Andersson, with whom he shared an brief yet intense love affair before he went off to fight in World War I. Despite the fact that Ashley hadn't seen Imogen in seven years, and the last time they saw each other they fought angrily, he was determined to leave Imogen his fortune. Imogen never claimed Ashley's estate, and it has remained in trust for the past 80 years. As a result of new information, the attorneys representing the estate believe that Tristan may be related to Imogen and Ashley, and could very well be the legal heir to the estate, which would mean he would inherit millions of dollars. But time is growing short—the law firm swears Tristan to absolute confidentiality and bids him to find evidence that proves he is connected to this couple who lived 80 years ago. No mean feat there. Tristan's search for evidence takes him on a frenzied search for information, from museums and libraries in London to France, Sweden, and Iceland. Little by little he starts to uncover the story of Ashley and Imogen, two lovers separated by circumstances of their time, by pride, fear, and uncertainty. And at the same time, as time is running out for him to uncover the information he needs, Tristan starts to unearth his own feelings, left dormant and in pain since his mother's death. In France, he meets Mireille, a troubled young woman who encourages his fact-finding but wonders what the end result truly will mean to him. "Even if there's an ending to all this, maybe it's lost. Maybe there's a reason it ought to stay lost. And even if you're lucky enough to find an ending, it might not be the ending you wish for." The Steady Running of the Hour shifts from present time to London in the midst of World War I, the battlefields of the Somme, and the frenzy to climb Mount Everest in the mid-1920s. It's the story of self-discovery, following your passions no matter how self-destructive they may be, and the need for truth. It's also the story of a how a relationship that only lasted a few days truly transformed two people, and it had ramifications for many years to come. I thought this was a good book. I enjoyed when the book focused on Tristan's search for facts about Imogen and Ashley, and I also enjoyed when the book shifted to focus on Imogen and Ashley's relationship. I could have done without the battle scenes, as I didn't feel they really added much to the plot (at least at the level of detail they went into). But as much as I enjoyed their love story, I found Imogen's character a little off-putting, and I also found Mireille's character more of a distraction than anything else. And I guess I expected something different in terms of how the story would be resolved. Justin Go's book is meticulously researched and is really fascinating. He's a very talented writer and I enjoyed reading this book, as he made Tristan's search very compelling. I just wish I didn't feel a little bit empty when it was all done.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I received The Steady Running of the Hour as part of a Goodreads giveaway. Tristan Campbell, a recent college graduate in America, is summoned to London law firm by a mysterious letter. Once there, he learns that an apparent family secret has made him the possible heir to a great estate, left to a relative by a former lover 80 years earlier. Time is ticking, however, as he has just two short months to find proof of these suspicions before the estate is dispersed to a number of charitable causes. I received The Steady Running of the Hour as part of a Goodreads giveaway. Tristan Campbell, a recent college graduate in America, is summoned to London law firm by a mysterious letter. Once there, he learns that an apparent family secret has made him the possible heir to a great estate, left to a relative by a former lover 80 years earlier. Time is ticking, however, as he has just two short months to find proof of these suspicions before the estate is dispersed to a number of charitable causes. Tristan must race against the clock to uncover his family's history Told in parallel is the story of Ashley Walshingham, a mountain climber whose passion was interrupted by WWI and his brief love affair with Tristan's ancestor, Imogen Soames-Andersson, and the circumstances that led to the mystery that Tristan is unraveling nearly a century later. A beautiful book. The two time periods weave together beautifully--Tristan as a lost twenty-something trying to grasp some sense of reality, Ashley, drawn to do his duty for his country while battling against the temptation of passion, and Imogen, who marches to the beat of her own drummer apart from her family and even the man she loves. Fast paced and introspective at the same time, and all-around engaging, I loved every minute of this read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pascal Inard

    I won this book through the goodreads giveaway. The race to uncover the secrets of the tragic lovers made me want to continue until the end; there is a sense of urgency, mystery and impossibility right from the start. It is rich with historical details of WWI and the 1924 British Everest expedition. But that’s also the reason why I don’t give it more than two stars, it often reads like a history book and gets bogged down in details. The writing style tends to be terse and impersonal; we rarely kn I won this book through the goodreads giveaway. The race to uncover the secrets of the tragic lovers made me want to continue until the end; there is a sense of urgency, mystery and impossibility right from the start. It is rich with historical details of WWI and the 1924 British Everest expedition. But that’s also the reason why I don’t give it more than two stars, it often reads like a history book and gets bogged down in details. The writing style tends to be terse and impersonal; we rarely know what Tristan thinks or feels, we have to wait until page 173 to know how he feels about his quest and we barely know how he feels about Mireille. As a result, I could not feel anything for him. I was more involved with the love story between Imogen and Ashley, they were more human and alive than Tristan. There are unanswered questions at the end which left me with a sense of futility – it was perhaps deliberate because the underlying theme of the book is the futility of human endeavours; don’t read it if you’re after an uplifting story. This is not a book I would recommend. A small but annoying detail was the use of dashes rather than quotes for the dialogues, I wouldn't have minded if they were great.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Henderson

    I received a copy of this book for free through GoodReads FirstReads in exchange for my honest review. Here goes. I'm not going to finish this book. I just can't get over one thing - the dialogue. It's all written like this: -And what, Imogen wonders, is that? Ashley taps his cigarette on the ashtray. -I couldn't say. It's different for every man. -There isn't a name for it, Ashley says... The dashes would be fine, if it weren't for all the "Ashley says" or "Imogen wonders" type things thrown in w I received a copy of this book for free through GoodReads FirstReads in exchange for my honest review. Here goes. I'm not going to finish this book. I just can't get over one thing - the dialogue. It's all written like this: -And what, Imogen wonders, is that? Ashley taps his cigarette on the ashtray. -I couldn't say. It's different for every man. -There isn't a name for it, Ashley says... The dashes would be fine, if it weren't for all the "Ashley says" or "Imogen wonders" type things thrown in without quotations making you have to re-read every single line after you realize it's not actually part of the dialogue. Not ok. Otherwise, I think the idea for this story is great, but the writing is just too distracting.

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