Altitude Sickness: Critics’ Reviews, Interviews, Media, and Blurbs

Seattle Metropolitian Magazine names Altitude Sickness one of the all-time “20 Books Every Seattleite Must Read”, alongside works from Jack Kerouac, Tom Robbins, and other luminaries that pretty much make you want to call your mom and say, “Hooray!” Read the whole list here.

The Seattle Times‘ in-depth feature on Altitude Sickness (and on Litsa) by Seattle Times Culture Editor Tricia Romano is here. 

“Dremousis’ pragmatic, far-reaching, surprising approach to highly personal territory elevates Altitude Sickness from a straightforward account of loss to an honest examination of the desire for danger, catalyzed by proximity to an awe-inspiring natural environment. That quote about Mount Rainier as an emotional trigger? There’s more to it: ‘It is beautiful. Or it was,’ she writes, before subverting all expectations to add, ‘I guess it’s beautiful again.'”

Megan Burbank, The Portland Mercury. Full review here.

“The book is a howl of pain, a bellow of grief, and a funny-sad Irish funeral for a lover and friend, combining deep wisdom about mortality with an almost naive sensibility. Dremousis rails at the unfairness of death and the selfishness of people who take up dangerous hobbies like mountain climbing. The length is just about perfect: Any shorter and the thousand opposing facets of her experience wouldn’t be fully examined, but any longer might dilute her laser-sharp focus on the subject.”

Paul Constant, The Stranger. Read more here.

City Arts editor-in-chief Leah Baltus interviews Litsa about Altitude Sickness. An in-depth discussion ensues: “… Journalist, essayist and fiction writer Litsa Dremousis published Altitude Sickness… the memoir paints a portrait of both a remarkable person and of a funny, poignant relationship while unfolding the story of Neal’s death… Dremousis deftly cuts together scenes from a decades-long friendship with details what it was like to wait and wonder during Neal’s four day disappearance… The effect is a haunting criticism of extreme sports that pulses with moral ambiguity.” Read it here.

The Seattle Channel’s long-running and popular Art Zone with Nancy Guppy features Litsa reading from Altitude Sickness and explaining to climbers that fleece pullovers are not dinner attire. Watch the video here.

Radio New Zealand‘s Noelle Summer interviewed Litsa for 18 minutes on Summer’s esteemed and broadcast. Discussed: Altitude Sickness, climbers’ denial of death, necessary vs. unnecessary risks, why Greeks excel at discussing mortality, and more. Listen to the whole thing here.

“Dremousis found research that supported her position that the brains of avid climbers and addicts have similarities. She said that now, five years since his death she doesn’t live in terror when she hears reports of climbers who are missing, because the worst has already happened to her.”

Marcie Sillman, KUOW. Listen to the interview here.

“This Seattle-based essayist has gained acclaim for her searingly honest (and bitingly funny) prose”

Seattle Magazine, by Brangien Davis. Read the whole review here.

Largehearted Boy, New York’s long-running Book Notes literary series features Altitude Sickness here.

Wonderful review from the Australian literary site, Tiny Letter, here. Thanks, Erin Riley and Down Under!

Shelf Unbound Magazine‘s Editor-in-Chief Margaret Brown interviews Litsa for their podcast. On Altitude Sickness, why anger at the dead is not uncommon, and how being disabled impacts a writer’s life. Listen here.

“Indeed, it is difficult to imagine anyone trumping the enthusiasm, candid wit, and borderline absurd level of energy that Litsa exudes. She is no one’s idea of a woman left behind and doused by grief, of someone with CFIDS who suffers debilitating ailments, or of someone whose fiancé has recently undergone brain surgery to remove a tumor. Rather, within minutes, I wondered how TJ the mountain climber ever kept up with her.”

Stackedd Magazine, by Jaimee Garbacik (author of “Gender and Sexuality for Beginners”). More here.

Killing the Breeze reviews Altitude Sickness, writer Bunny Themelis underscores some of the book’s Greek cultural themes. Read more here.

Shelf Unbound Magazine‘s review of Altitude Sickness on page 101. (Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover!)

“Litsa Dremousis, age 48, the author of Altitude Sickness is a unique case… She didn’t plan for this future, but she’s happy with it. Women have fewer role models for middle age because it was very late in history that women have been allowed to do more than conceiving children. We’re still inventing this as we go.”

Dame Magazine, by Jordan Rosenfeld, from a wonderful feature on women gaining their second wind mid-life. Read the full piece here.

Two Greek-American writers discuss it all on this rollicking San Antonio-based arts podcast.

Sophia DiGonis, Gypsy Poet Radio arts podcast.

“Litsa’s sentences are precise, brutal, and reek of love, beauty, and integrity. Reading Altitude Sickness I had all kinds of feelings: I envied Neal’s partner’s love, and I got mad at him for leaving her behind. But more importantly I kept thinking this is not prose, this is poetry, plain and simple. An intense dose of confronting life, love, and death. I am grateful this book exists.”

Maged Zaher, author of The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me, Thank You for the Window Office, Portrait of the Poet as an Engineer; winner of the The Stranger’s 2013 Genius Award for Literature

“Whether through snark or anonymity, the Internet has made emotional nuance a rare commodity in 2014. Litsa Dremousis consistently proves herself to be unafraid to reverse this trend. Whether it’s love, lust, sex (different than the previous two), illness, or raw anger, she explores what it means to allow yourself to truly feel (or not) in the context of a tragic loss. It’s fascinating, risky, and honest. You should download Altitude Sickness immediately if not sooner.”

Sean Beaudoin, author of The Infects and Wise Young Fool

“As a journalist, Litsa Dremousis is no stranger to unflinching honesty, but as a memoirist, she truly bears all. Not as much a recount of the tragic loss of a loved one as a meditation on the merits and consequences of thrill-seeking, Altitude Sickness understands the alchemical manner in which grief and anger are inseparably linked. Written with equal parts tenderness and cynicism, Dremousis’s exploration of love and mortality will leave you gasping.”

Samuel Sattin, author of League of Somebodies

Future Tense Books, Instant Future and Litsa Dremousis’ Altitude Sickness discussed in Poets & Writers feature on strong, independent publishers here.

Author and editor Matthew Simmons interviews Litsa for the esteemed lit journal Hobart on Altitude Sickness, how writing impacts grief and vice versa, and the importance of having a dog here.

NYT bestselling author Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You, interviews Litsa about climbing dangers, writing about a best friend’s death, and the right curly-hair care products for her book site here.

Great lit site The Nervous Breakdown runs excerpt of Altitude Sickness here.

Litsa’s installment of The Nervous Breakdown‘s long-running author “Self-Interview” series here.

Writer Steve Barker interviews Litsa about Altitude Sickness and the neurological similarities between climbers and addicts for his arts and entertainment podcast Ordinary Madness here.

Seattle’s oldest community newspaper, The Capitol Hill Times, interviews Litsa about Altitude Sickness and about the city’s annual literary festival Lit Crawl here.


The original Altitude Sickness press release is available here.

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