A Short walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

About the book

The view was colossal. Below us on every side mountain surged away it seemed forever; we looked down on glaciers and snow-covered peaks that perhaps no one has ever seen before, except from the air.’
Feeling restless in the world of London’s high-fashion industry, Eric Newby asked a friend to accompany him on a mountain-climbing expedition in the wild and remote Hindu Kush, in north-eastern Afghanistan. And so they went – although they did stop first for four days of climbing lessons in Wales – becoming the first Englishmen to visit this spectacular region for more than half a century. Newby’s frank and funny account of their expedition to what is still amongst the world’s most isolated areas is one of the classics of travel writing.

Reviewed by Kingsclere Reading Group:

A mixed response: some loved it, others found it a bit dull. Good discussion about the attitudes shown by writer to ethnic groups he met. Quality of his writing enjoyed. All pleased that we read a book we might otherwise have rejected.

Star rating: ***

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The Fall by Simon Mawer

About the book

Rob and Jamie are great friends from childhood. They have grown up together and become top climbers, but have since become estranged. Rob is nevertheless amazed and grief-stricken when he hears of Jamie’s death after a fall on a relatively easy Welsh rockface.
The past, though, hides the secret clues behind the tragedy. Layer by layer Simon Mawer peels back what happened, going not only into the friends’ childhoods but that of their parents – who were also intimate. And there is no escaping that past – vividly imagined scenes in the London of the Blitz reveal how through two generations Rob and Jamie and their respective parents have been addicted – to desire and the heady dangers of climbing.
Brilliantly structured as we move from past to present and back again, this novel will make Simon Mawer’s literary reputation.

Reviewed by Biscuits, Books and Banter Reading Group:

All enjoyed this gripping and involved tale. Combines well great descriptions of climbing and complex relationships between main characters. Good discussion followed. Most would recommend.

Star rating: ****

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