Tuesday, February 26, 2013

pure and simple

Touching My Father's Soul isn't complex in message or style. Rather, Norgay is straightforward and unpretentious in his storytelling and his philosophy, exhibiting a comfortable ownership of a narrative he has inherited both culturally and genealogically. His experience with Everest is refreshing because it is portrayed in a way radically different from Krakauer's account, or from any of the other climbing accounts we have read. He didn't stumble upon a picture of the mountain and dream of personal or national glory, not did he view it as a cumulative test for his skills. Instead, he shared cultural and familial ties to the mountain, a "special bond our family had with the mountain, something even more profound than my father's passion to climb it" (Norgay 106). The concept of destiny is presented in this book in a mystical sense, allowing Norgay to transcend the easy labels of ego we have showered on the other climbers. He defends his climb of Everest in a way the other climbers have not - he was going to meet his father. Summiting Everest is an achievement, regardless of a person's climbing experience or determination. Summiting Everest as part of a spiritual journey to understand one's family and heritage, however, cannot be reduced to an achievement. It is something more, something like a revelation but longer lasting, that does not require elaborate prose or mind-boggling devices.

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