The Abominable by Dan Simmons Download (read online) free eBook (PDF ePub Kindle)

The Abominable

ALA Reading List Award for History, Short List
A thrilling tale of high-altitude death and survival set on the snowy summits of Mount Everest, from the bestselling author of The Terror
It’s 1924 and the race to summit the world’s highest mountain has been brought to a terrified pause by the shocking disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine high on the shoulder of Mt


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    karen

    Oct 07, 2013

    rated it
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    when i first saw this cover, with its snowy wilderness, i thought “oh, it is a sequel to The Terror – how wonderful!!” but it is not. wrong part of town altogether. The Terror takes place in the northwest passage where a handful of stranded seamen have to contend with the harsh polar environment, scurvy, and also some supernatural forces. this one takes place on mt everest, where a handful of climbers have to contend with the harsh mountain conditions, frostbite, and also some… well, it is more

    with The Terror, i found the “real” horrors much more interesting than the supernatural forces. and this one is no different. remind me again why people climb mountains?? mountains do not like being climbed. they especially do not like being climbed in 1926, when the available mountain-climbing technology was so rudimentary that no one had actually made it to the summit before. our heroes, in fact, are among the forefront of mountaineering tech with their fancy bottled air and their 12 point crampons. do you know the benefits of 12-point crampons over the lesser 10-point crampons?? don’t worry – if you read this book, you will know everything about crampons. everything. if you are interested in very technical, highly detailed books about mountain climbing, this is probably an awesome read for you. dan simmons packs this book with so much detail, you will practically be able to climb everest yourself after this. but don’t. don’t climb everest. it sounds horrible.

    and also do not skip the introduction, because it is not an introduction at all. i frequently skip them to read after the book itself, because a lot of times, i find that they give too much away, and i enjoy reading the book less than if i had gone in blind. but this introduction is a story about how dan simmons came to have this book in his hands, and introduces the whole found manuscript device that sets up the entire narrative.

    and it’s fun – there are enough real-world people populating the book to give the conceit veracity, but i do think one needs to tread carefully – the whole reveal at the end has, to my knowledge and my “really?” googling skills, no factual basis. which i guess in the world of this book means that it worked, but it also seems like overkill.

    but this is a very slow read. a very slow read. almost as slow as actually climbing everest. it isn’t uninteresting at all, but it’s just a lot of very dense prose, and if you have a lot of other things going on with little time to read, this might not be the best book for you right now. and i have to confess, i have had this ARC sitting in my house since the summer, and i haven’t picked it up because i was concerned about its length affecting my goodreads reading challenge. which is a stupid way to choose a book, but it was a legitimate fear, because after the amount of time it took me to read it and still live my life, i found myself 5 books behind. oh noes!

    but i will rally, don’t worry.

    this book taught me what the tibetan “sky burial” ritual was all about, in a much more gruesome way than what wikipedia describes. but don’t read the article – it’s probably better to be surprised in the book. and by “surprised,” i mean “horrified.” which is culturally insensitive, i know, but i can own that. (it is way worse than the wiki)

    but it also had humor. for someone with my personal reading experiments, this is very funny, indeed:

    “…sometimes the yeti raided the village of Chobuk, but never the Rongbuk Monastary itself, drinking the blood of yaks, killing men with one swipe of their clawed paw-hands, and…carrying off the Chobuk women.”

    “What would the monsters want with human women?” asked Jean-Claude in a small, almost childlike voice.

    The other three of us had to chuckle, and J.C. blushed a bright crimson.

    whe!!

    and it describes the cruel beauty of everest and view-from-everest very well, but for me, it is a purely abstract beauty, since i have no context for that kind of majestic landscape. but it’s there, if you are the kind of reader drawn to those kinds of descriptions. and if you like mountaineering minutiae. also, nazis.

    overall, it is a good book, but it was probably the wrong time for me to read it, with all the distractions i was enduring. it deserves an unhurried read, not one that comes in dribs and drabs of reading time. i am a much bigger fan of The Terror, but this one is definitely worth checking out.

    unlike everest.
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