Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Review: The Steady Running of the Hour: A Novel by Justin Go

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.

Hardcover, 480 pages
Expected publication: April 15th 2014 by Simon & Schuster (first published March 11th 2014)

Terri's Thoughts          

I received a copy of this book from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest 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 endeavour.

I cannot recommend this book.

About the Author

JUSTIN GAKUTO GO was born in Los Angeles to a Japanese father and an American mother. He was trained as a historian at UC Berkeley and holds an MA in English from University College London. Justin has lived in Tokyo, Paris, London, New York City and Berlin, among other places.

He recently completed his first book, The Steady Running of the Hour, a literary novel about a young man’s quest to inherit a fortune from the 1920s. The book involves many historical settings, including the Battle of the Somme and the British 1924 Mount Everest Expedition.

Twitter:   justingakuto


  1. Bummer, this one sounded good! It's frustrating when an author has a really good idea but then can't follow through :(

  2. I'd be curious to read it myself...The summary sounds like something I'd read. Its always disappointing when you expect a story to be better than it actually is.@Get Lost in Lit