Monday, March 10, 2014

The Buildup

I have talked to a few classmates about their experiences transitioning from nonfiction accounts to this heavy handed stylistic novel. It seems that we agree that the transition is abrupt and makes comparison apparently difficult. I found an important juxtaposition, among many, to be the content chosen for the preamble to the climb. In Annapurna this section is spent describing logistics, the philosophy of the climb, and the grueling pilgrimage to the base of the climb. In Into Thin Air, the preamble is a very reductive personality blurb on each individual involved in the accident, which read to me like an obituary. Similarly in A Woman's Place, each person is introduced with a little biography that is limited to the perception of the narrator.
The Eiger Sanction's preamble is immense in comparison to these other adventure contextualizations and serves an entirely different purpose. The narrator, who seems to encompass and also slightly surpass Jonathan's perspective, offers us intimate, psychological knowledge of Jonathan's character. No information about his climbing team, other than the looming twist that one member of the expedition will be his target, is presented in the preamble. Similarly, we do not obtain any information about the logistics of the expedition or the planned climb itself. This preamble has built suspense and developed several characters and completely avoided the chronological focus and event play by play that characterized these other narratives.

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