WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

Author(s): 
What a great premise: After being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, a non-athletic London girl decides to hike the Himalayas.

Magazine editor Lyssa is obsessed with having a baby. Sluggish-spermed boyfriend Jake holds her hand through several unsuccessful IVF attempts. Finally, Jake has had enough and calls it quits. Turns out he's been cheating on Lyssa all along, and when she discovers this, she heads for the hills—literally.

Unfortunately, the sections of the novel set in Nepal turn out to be less interesting than what's going on back in London with Jake. Maybe that's because Lyssa's journey never becomes an inner quest or even a test of outer strength, except in the most perfunctory ways. Until the unexpected and deeply moving conclusion, the exotic setting seems more window dressing than vehicle for character change. (Aug., 432 pp., $17.95)
Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison