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Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men And Mountains Paperback – February 10, 2009
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In this collection, Krakauer writes of mountains from the memorable perspective of one who has himself struggled with solo madness to scale Alaska's notorious Devil's Thumb.
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The collection runs from the semi-humorous ("Eiger Dreams") to the serious ("A Bad Summer on K2"). What I love most, however, is the length of the stories. Long enough to whet my appetite on climbing adventure tales, but not a huge commitment to an entire novel. Plus, Krakauer shines in the article medium.
All in all, I love this read and will re-read several of the stories again.
Unfortunately, Krakauer's prose often falls flat. The chapter "A Bad Summer on K2" feels like a series of accident reports. "Canyoneering" often reads like a geology textbook. In Eiger Dreams, Krakauer does not display much talent in writing action scenes. Some authors can weave sentence structure and word choice together with action to make for a very exciting read. Krakauer is not one of them. Whether he is detailing the shape of a climbing axe, or describing someone sliding to their death, his voice stays the same.
Ultimately, Eiger Dreams is saved by the fact that the subject is exciting and that Krakauer has first hand knowledge of it. This is an enjoyable book that will resonate strongly with anyone who has spent time in a survival situation.