A young man called Wolf (short for Wilfred) Truly narrates the story, his perspective of several frightening days spent lost on a mountain with three other people, all struggling to stay alive without food, adequate water, or weather-appropriate clothing.
Early in the book, Wolf reveals that his trip up this mountain, a trip he has taken many times, is intended to be the last one he will take, and one from which he does not plan to return.
In grief and despair over an accident suffered by his best friend, Wolf makes the journey up the mountain without any supplies, a decision that will haunt him as he finds himself in the position of attempting to lead several women to a particular landmark, and later, back to the trail.
In putting himself into a position of leadership with the women, because of his knowledge of the area and wilderness survival, his intentions reverse as he realizes that he must remain alive to ensure that his three companions do not starve or fall victim to exposure.
“The Mountain Story” seems at first as though it might simply be a tale of rugged survival and a battle against time and nature, and to a certain extent it is, but there is more to it. This book explores the depths and nuance of human connection: love, friendship, and sacrifice. Ms. Lansens pushes her characters to the brink of death and madness to test their strength.
There are a few surprising revelations scattered throughout the narrative, twists that I did not anticipate, and which mostly felt refreshing rather than forced.
This was a more emotional read than I expected. Although it contained more than its fair share of tragedy, it was ultimately satisfying, while managing to avoid being overly neat and tidy or saccharine sweet at the end.
On the whole, I found it to be a very successful novel, well worth the time I spent with it.