Seriously, I have to start reading the blurbs on the back of books! I was drawn to The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go because I thought it was about climbing Mount Everest. Mount Everest is genre kryptonite for me. So i was a little disappointed to learn that Everest is only a small portion of the novel. But Go’s writing made up for that. He is a seriously good writer and I will read whatever he puts out next.
The Steady Running of the Hour flips back and forth between the present and a young man searching out his origins to see if he is the mysterious inheritor of millions and World War 1 and the years immediately following it. For me, Go is at his best when he is writing the historical passages. I’m not much for books about trench warfare, but Go nails it. His writing in the contemporary passages is good, but doesn’t shine like it does in the historical parts.
And much to my relief, near the end of the novel Go takes us onto Mount Everest. Like with the trench warfare scenes, Go really shows his strength here. His story telling here is absolutely wonderful. I was on the seat of my pants.
Who would like this book? I’m surprised The Steady Running of the Hours hasn’t received more positive press. As I’ve said, I found the writing to be exceptional. There are so many books about a protagonist searching into the past to uncover a hidden secret, and this novel falls firmly in that category. If that is your type of book, then this is for you. But I’d also highly recommend it to those who appreciate WWI novels, because that is where Go is at his best.
I’m glad you ended up liking it so much despite being disappointed that there wasn’t more Everest. I’m thinking it sounds pretty good to me, too. I’m curious now – what other Everest books have you read?
I like books about protagonists trying to uncover a secret, but, like WWII books, I may have overdone this interest to the point where these books no longer sound exciting to me. I’m glad this one ended up working for you even though it wasn’t what you expected! I find books that surprise me can be very hit or miss for me.
It was a miss that turned into a hit.