From the author of Touching the Void, Joe Simpson’s latest novel is a harrowing account of love, loss and redemption. The book begins dramatically with two mountaineers; one holding the other, saying “I need both hands.” The moment Patrick says those words, the grip is lost and she falls into the ice field below letting out an unnatural scream that echoes with Patrick for many years.
This changes Patrick’s life forever – he simply can’t understand how he let go, and with that comes an overwhelming sense of guilt. The book is split into two parts; throughout part one, after the fall, Patrick struggles for his life, finding the will to survive and make it off the mountain.
The book skips forward decades, and in part two, an older man lives in a cabin registering climbers. As another storm brews and a couple turn up at the hut, the woman is in the depths of hypothermia, resulting in an unlikely friendship. In short, Simpson’s book is engaging, but at times Patrick’s emotional strain is draining, however, as the book reaches its conclusion, it’s evident that every aching word was worth it.