My favourite non-fiction

There is only one non-fiction story I read and then re-read. Apart from pattern books – but I don’t count them as all I do is copy the pattern to produce a beautiful (or not) piece of clothing or blanket.

No this book I re-read just for one reason – it is stunning and I want to read it as many times as I can. They made it into a movie and I have watched that. It isn’t bad at all but the book is mind-blowing.

‘Touching the Void’ is written by Joe Simpson who is the man who experienced the fall. It is a true life drama or tragedy where the hero is put into a situation that he ought not survive. There are two of them and they are climbing Siula Grande in Peru, at the time an unclimbed peak. They are fine on the trip up, although there are a couple of close calls. The problems start on the way down. Joe falls and breaks his leg. This should have been a death knell, but his climbing partner starts to lower him. By now both are suffering severe frost bite and neither are in good shape. Then Simon, unknowingly, lowers Joe into a canyon. Joe dangles there until Simon can no longer hold him and then he cuts the rope.

Joe falls.

It is here that the book becomes a masterpiece of imagery and tension. Joe has survived and must make it back to camp before Simon leaves.

I could go on… But get the book or watch the movie. The imagery in the movie is beautiful and the pictures in the book emphasis the story. I have seen the film twice but my copy of the book is worn and the corners folded with use. I can’t recommend it enough. It will make you laugh, cry and then laugh again.

3 thoughts on “My favourite non-fiction

  1. I’ve seen the film and was shocked and impressed and all that, but somehow it felt … I don’t know… distanced. Perhaps I’ll check out the book now!

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