Arlene Blum’s retelling of Annapurna has a distinct element of emotion throughout the book. While Herzong occasionally granted us access to his emotions and feelings, either through the translation or deliberately, they only inform the reader in a matter of fact tone what Herzog is feeling, they don’t capture the reader the way Arlene Blum does. It took me about 150 pages of frustration to step back and realize what Arlene was doing.
Through the first 150 pages I was so fed up with the politicking, bickering and indecision of each and every member of the group that I had to put the book down and watch Bode Miller disappoint yet again. As I listened to the announcers talk about Bode as a prima donna skier whose only interest is himself, something in my head clicked with the frustration that I had felt thus far. My frustration with Vera K., Joan, Piro and the rest of the members (except Liz) wasn’t just my opinions of teamwork and leadership clashing with Arlene’s, the book was written to make me feel this frustration and put myself in Arlene's shoes.
At the beginning of this class we need to focus on two things as we read these books, the trajectory of the book and the perspective that we are reading from. I failed to do that at first and my frustration with the way Arlene was managing her team made me physically put the book down and take a break. Once I returned with a new perspective I began to sympathize with Arlene as she dealt with these conflicting interests of both the individual expedition members and the expedition as a whole.