/ INTERVIEW: Reading Between the Lines - David Roberts

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UKC Articles - on 04 Feb 2019
David RobertsWith ample space and time to think, it's no surprise that the most captivating climbing stories are ones that go beyond gear and grades - ideas and commentary on wider society permeate mountain literature. In this series of interviews, we talk to prominent climbing writers about their reading habits between - or even during - routes and expeditions.

Often referred to as 'the dean of adventure writing', David Roberts's name is synonymous with cerebral reflections on risk and reward in mountaineering. Independent of his writing prowess, Roberts is also among the best Alaskan mountaineers of his generation.



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Damo on 04 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Excellent, thanks Natalie.

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Doug on 04 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Interesting, and thanks for adding the transcripts

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Sean Kelly - on 04 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Enjoyed that Natalie, thanks!

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pneame - on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

A fascinating and wide-ranging interview. And an author that I have read no books by - this is about to be corrected. 

Thanks!

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In reply to pneame:

The three I read for the interview - The Mountain of my Fear, On the Ridge Between Life and Death, Limits of the Known - are well worth reading. David is critical of MoMF as he was very young when he wrote it, but it's still a great book. The final pages of LotK in particular are very emotional - the entire room had tears in their eyes after a reading of it during his literature event presentation at the Banff festival.

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Pedro50 on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Not read LoTK yet but the others are excellent as is True Summit which unpicks Herzog's version of Annurpurna, including (if memory serves) finding Terray's original manuscript of his own version of events which Herzog had managed to legally suppress.

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In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Is there one you'd recommend to start with Nat? I've gone off mountaineering literature in recent years, mostly due to the reasons David expresses within the interview: whilst there are exceptions, it all seems so generic.

Alongside this I think my own interest in 'mountaineering' (as opposed to climbing/being outside) has probably waned, hence I was unsure as to whether or not I'd enjoy any of his work. I think this is the reason that I never really connected with The Bond. Despite it receiving critical acclaim it just fell a bit flat as far as I was concerned, being just another sensationalist story...or maybe I'm being too harsh/cynical a critic...

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Doug on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I don't know if its easily available but the first piece I read was his novella "Like Water and Like Wind" published in Ascent in  (I think) the late 70s. Its much shorter than a book so might be a good to place to start, if you can find a copy

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Mick Ward - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

>  David is critical of MoMF as he was very young when he wrote it, but it's still a great book.

It's probably the nature of writers to be critical of early work.

I read Mountain of My Fear when I was also very young. I was enthralled by it.

Mick

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In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

You could start chronologically with MoMF then OTR then LoTK (he likes long titles!) as there's progression and changes in his thinking as he deconstructs experiences. Deborah: A Wilderness Narrative is also meant to be a great read and Alone on the Ice if you're into Antarctic exploration.

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steveriley - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Not read any David Roberts but enjoyed that. Interesting about Lionel Terray - I went back to it after a gap of a couple of decades and wondered if it had aged well. It had! I don't know if it's the age or the translation that allows a sense of distance but damn, it's a fine book.

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pneame - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Thanks Natalie - I'll add those to my list - I picked "In search of the old ones" as my first choice - seemed to tick a number of boxes while at the same time, being about the Anasazi, it is off my usual radar and a bit different therefore. 

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Pedro50 on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Pedro50:

> Not read LoTK yet but the others are excellent as is True Summit which unpicks Herzog's version of Annurpurna, including (if memory serves) finding Terray's original manuscript of his own version of events which Herzog had managed to legally suppress.

I rethought this during a walk, as its a while since I read True Summit, I had slightly mangled two issues.:

Herzog suppressed other versions other than his own re Annurpurna, this is the main thrust of True Summit which presents the other versions. 

Terray was "accused" of having a ghost writer for Conquistadors of the Useless, but subsequently Dave Roberts was shown or found a hand written original manuscript which proved it was his own work. 

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L Patt Mycroft - on 14:16 Fri
In reply to UKC Articles:

Wonderful. Thank you, Nat. 

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