Saturday, 12 March 2016

Thin Air.

A ghost story set in The Himalayas during what could be considered to be the golden age of mountaineering written by the author of one of the finest modern ghost stories I have read (Dark Matter by Michelle Paver; just startlingly good.I still think about it at very odd moments.) How is one to resist such a read.?Why would one resist such a read? The year is 1935 and the Himalaya mountain is Kangchenjunga the third highest peak in the known world at this time. It may not have been the highest but until now it has proven the most difficult to climb and many have lost their lives trying to do so. Imagine the historical weight of those tragedies bearing down as you endure the many other hardships associated with such a climb.Then imagine the presence of a ghost on the trail. That prickly tingle on the tiny hairs on the back of your neck when you feel the breath of a presence standing behind you on a stretch where no one could possibly be. Where funereal stone cairns stand like full stops marking where others final steps were taken. Doting the high mountain sides like rocky tear drops.
                Michelle Paver has proved quite the discovery for myself. I enjoyed her other novel Dark Matter so much.It was a very well written ghost story with totally believable and quite complex characters. this woman understands men so well. the qualities that can make us amazing and the qualities that make us petty and tawdry. She surprises me at times and I feel moved by what lies beneath the skin of her men and sufficiently engaged to really care about them. As a writer she also understands that life rarely signposts an ending and when both these books of hers I read came to their finish I imagined the characters carrying on some where in some other reality. Lost in the mind space of authorship.
                 There is a lot of old school adventuring between this books covers. A strong sense of discovery and pushing through despite the hardships permeate her work. And always there is a cost. A price to be paid in fear and tears.
                  I loved this book. Despite the terrors and sadness endured I did not want it to end.
                  If I could speak directly to this woman I would say this;
                  Please write more.