Powerful Moments

David Craig

  • Touching the void by Joe Simpson
    Cape, 172 pp, £10.95, July 1988, ISBN 0 224 02545 7
  • Climbers by M. John Harrison
    Gollancz, 221 pp, £12.95, September 1989, ISBN 0 575 03632 X

These two books about climbing, a memoir set in the Andes and a novel set in the Pennines – each of them as excellent of its own kind as we are likely to get – between them raise again the question posed by all attempts to write creatively about experience in conditions of extreme steepness and altitude: how to do it in ways that evoke the heart of the experience and don’t resort unduly to its more freakish terrors?

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