Monday, February 17, 2014

Engaged and Torn

Krakauer has an incredibly different style of writing than both Blum and Herzog. He tells much more of a story, shaping scenes and creating a narrative that any "arm-chair adventurer" would fall in love with. This is, as many others have written, mainly based around his commercialization of the book - and of the adventure he embarked on. Krakauer is a great writer, captivating readers and drawing them right onto the mountain with him. I am struggling, however, to justify this type of writing for an "extreme adventure." Is there something to be said about Herzog's straightforward account of summit-ting Annapurna? Or Blum's details of leadership struggles and hardships on the mountain? Krakauer, clearly, adds his own flare to the adventure writing we have seen; but does this take away from the adventure itself? I, personally, am more drawn into the story line because it is written in this engaging manner. However, I have read many critiques of Krakauer's book due to his lack of "perspective" and his reliance on a specific story line, regardless of accuracy. Thus, I am torn: I want to fully immerse myself into the story and forget the outside perspective, but is it all bad to engage in the story and still be aware of the critics? Does that balance, then, add a little to the idea of "adventure?"

1 comment:

  1. I really like this point, Sarah! I don't know about "taking away from the adventure," but I was torn for a different reason. Not only were people critical of Krakauer's "lack of perspective" as you put it, but many relatives of the fallen climbers were horrified at Krakauer's depictions of their loved ones. I was very engaged in this dramatic, much more "story-like" narrative (can you tell I'm an English major?) but I was similarly torn in the fact that to achieve this Krakauer detaches you from the real people. I was particularly uncomfortable with Krakauer's choice to have a "Dramatis Personae" at the beginning of the book- as though this was a Shakespearian tragedy and not a real story that had real, horrific consequences. I too wanted to forget that Krakauer most likely took liberties, since it is a great read, but I personally was quite uncomfortable with his storytelling sometimes.