Monday, March 10, 2014


Krakauer reveals the ending of his book within its first two pages. Because he is writing a non-fiction narrative, he uses other tactics to keep his reader involved. He focuses on climbing background, the history of Nepal, tension in the group, etc to hold his reader's attention. Of course, moments of suspense occurred at times in Into Thin Air: when Rob Hall spent the night alone and was in minimal radio contact, for example. However, even though we let ourselves get swept up into suspense, we ultimately already knew that Rob Hall did not make it off the mountain.
Similarly, Herzog, Blum and Simpson do not use suspense to bolster their novel because they do not need to. Reporting their interpretation of the events that occurred on their respective climbs is enough to satisfy their readers. On occasion, suspense is incorporated, but never to the same extent that an assassin adventure novel would use it.
During The Eiger Sanction, Trevanian purposely tries to use suspense to draw in the reader. He wants them to be constantly wondering what will happen next, how the mission will play out, etc so that they keep reading. However, I do not think he used suspense all that well. I was expecting it to be more like the Bourne Identity in terms of suspense when I first picked up the book and glanced at the back cover, but I think it falls short. Trevanian uses plenty of dramatic one-liners and somewhat attempts to create scenes that hold the reader in suspense, but he just did not succeed with keeping my attention. Maybe if he spent less time describing women who have sex with Jonathan and wait on him hand and foot he'd be able to accomplish the full element of suspense...

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