Joe Simpson has experienced a life filled with adventure but marred by death. He has endured the painful attrition of climbing friends in accidents, calling into question the perilously exhilarating activity to which he has devoted his life. Probability is inexorably closing in. The tragic loss of a close friend forces a momentous decision upon him. It is time to turn his back on the mountains that he has loved. Never more alive than when most at risk, he has come to see a last climb on the hooded, mile-high North Face of the Eiger as the cathartic finale. In a narrative which takes the reader through extreme experiences, from an avalanche in Bolivia, ice-climbing in the Alps and Colorado and paragliding in Spain - before his final confrontation with the Eiger - Simpson reveals the inner truth of climbing, exploring both the power of the mind and the frailties of the body. The subject of his new book is the siren song of fear and his struggle to come to terms with it.
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(198mm x 129mm x 20mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The mountaineer Joe Simpson is probably most known for his bestseller, Touching the Void, which recounts his epic battle for survival in the Andes after a horrifying climbing accident. In the intervening years Simpson has gone on to climb in some of the world's most challenging landscapes. Unfortunately he has also had to endure the loss of many climbing friends in accidents and this has increasingly caused him to question what it is that draws him to the mountains. With the approach of his 40th birthday and the death of a particularly close friend Simpson comes to a momentous decision - he will climb a selected shortlist of routes and then give it up. Here he recounts the psychological traumas that led him to make this surprising resolve. In harrowing detail he recalls the deaths of several of his fellow mountaineers, as often the result of bad luck as of misjudgement, and reveals his own doubts and fears when answering the mountains' siren songs. Simpson writes particularly well about his lifelong addiction to exhilaration and adrenalin highs - an addiction that is in direct competition with the growing certainty that, for him, it is no longer worth the risks. Above all, Simpson allows the reader to experience the biting cold, pain, gut-wrenching fear and elation of high-level mountaineering. After much soul-searching Simpson decides that an ascent of the North Face of the Eiger will be a fitting culmination of his climbing career and his attempt, along with climbing partner Ray Delaney, forms the compelling conclusion to this fascinating book. Whether Simpson will really be able to wean himself away from high places is another matter entirely; a man who has spent his whole life under the spell of their beckoning silence may always have to climb just one more time. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Joe Simpson
Joe Simpson is the author of several bestselling books, of which the first,Touching the Void, won both the NCR award and the Boardman Tasker Award. His later books are This Game of Ghosts - the sequel to Touching the Void - Storms of Silence, Dark Shadows Falling, The Beckoning Silence and one previous novel, The Water People.