- Publisher: Perennial; Revised edition (2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060730552
- ISBN-13: 978-0060730550
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 204 g
- Average Customer Review: 98 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival Paperback – 2004
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"a modern classic of mountain writing" -- The Sunday Times
"one of the great stories of survival eloquently described" -- Philip French, The Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Joe Simpson won the Boardman Tasker Award and the prestigious NCR Award for his book Touching the Void, which received universal applause and was published in thirteen languages. Based on the true story of an accident that occurred when he was climbing the previously unclimbed West Face of the remote 21,000 ft Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes with his partner Simon Yates, Touching the Void was Joe's fourth book. Earlier titles include The Water People and This Game of Ghosts. He lives in Sheffield. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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The movie and the DVD extras take the viewer on an emotional path where one at first dislikes the arrongant and impetuous Simpson, while his climbing pal Simon Yates seems more sympathetic. However, as the movie continues and especially if you watch the Return to Siula Grande DVD extra, it becomes hard not to empathize with Simpson's reaction to returning to the place where he had faced so much trauma and to, in contrast, find Yates cold and unfeeling, as if the experience they shared so many years before no longer affected him personally. The end of the movie leaves one with the impression that Simpson, although understanding at what Yates did, does not really like Yates and does certainly not consider him a friend.
The book, written several years earlier, certainly leaves a more positive impression of Yates. While Simpson admits to having written the book in part to clear Yates's name in the climbing communitry, his storytelling takes the reader beyond a defense of Yates's actions. In fact, Simpson's description of Yates's attempt to lower the injured Simpson down the mountain portrays an act that is nothing short of heroic. It is clear that his cutting the rope was a last, desperate resort to end a situation in which there was no way out.
While the book and the movie both tell very closely the same story, reading the book and seeing the movie is neither a redundant experience nor an exercise in detecting differences in the two plots. In fact, the one enriches the story in the other. The maps and the first-person telling in the book complement the documentary-style script and the sweeping vistas caught on film.
When Simon reached him, they both knew that the chances for getting Joe off the mountain were virtually non-existent. Yet, they fashioned a daring plan to to do just that. For the next few hours, they worked in tandem through a snow storm, and managed a risky, yet effective way of trying to lower Joe down the mountain.
About three thousand feet down, Joe, who was still roped to Simon, dropped off an edge and found himself now free hanging in space six feet away from an ice wall, unable to reach it with his axe. The edge was over hung about fifteen feet above him. The dark outline of a crevasse lay about a hundred feet directly below him.
Joe could not get up, and Simon could not get down. In fact, Joe's weight began to pull Simon off the mountain. So, Simon was finally forced to do the only thing he could do under the circumstances. He cut the rope, believing that he was consigning his friend to certain death. Therein lies the tale.
What happens next is sure to make one believe in miracles. This is an absorbing read and one of the great stories in mountaineering literature.
Here's the deal before I delve into a true-life adventure masterpiece. Step 1: I make sure that the apartment is properly cozy (e.g. gas fireplace on, classical music playing on the stereo, beagles snuggling under a blanket next to me on the sofa) while bone-chilling fall and winter rains wash away all of Vancouver's accumulated summer grime. Step 2: I put frozen cinnamon apple crisp dessert in the oven so that the whole apartment eventually smells like some glorious Old World bakery. Step 3: I turn on my Kindle and transport myself, as if by magic, through time & space to the deepest jungles of Africa with Livingstone (in the 19th Century) or some desolate reef off the coast of Australia -- Batavia's Graveyard -- along with the other survivors who found themselves at the mercy of a 17th Century "Charles Manson" psychopath: Apothecary Geronimus Cornelius.
In "Touching the Void," you will likely rediscover the beauty of simple things like breathing (!) when you confront the void along with these intrepid mountaineers. Put on your imaginary crampons and brace yourself....
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