Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Paths of Glory

Just finished a fantastic read; what a book! I am no more enlightened about the art of mountaineering than I was when I picked up the book, but what I do know is that there are so many people with fiery passion whose stories go untold, who might not make it into the annals of history but who have trudged the face of this planet.

While reading ‘Paths of Glory’ by Jeffery Archer, there’s one thing that I surely realized- you’ve got to have the courage to live your dream and more importantly, have the courage to let the other live his dream as well. The parts of the book that impressed me most were not when Mallory was trekking in inhumane conditions nor when he went to any lengths to live his dream… but when his wife, Ruth, made the choice of supporting him through his dream and put her convenience, comforts and emotions on the back seat.

May be it wasn’t Edmond Hillary! May be Mallory did actually summit… strange are nature’s ways, we can never know if Mallory did actually summit The Everest, way before Edmond Hillary did, but what we do know is that there was a man with such an outrageous dream such grit and determination that, I would like to believe that he did it. Such is the power of Archer’s words. ‘Paths of Glory’ is classified as a work of fiction, but to me, it’s a whole lot of facts sprinkled with some fiction; a book that compels you to decide in favor of the protagonist- not out of force, but simply out of respect for his dream and love for his passion.

The plot is unlike much of what Archer has written and what he has managed in the 400 odd pages of this book is truly worth a read. It’s no mean task- making a life story so captivating and enthralling, but Archer manages that with √©lan. He has the uncanny knack of bringing people and things to life such that reading about Mallory at 27,500 ft all set to summit his first love- Chomolungma- sets the adrenalin rush in the reader.

A work of fiction with so much fact in it, especially the end of the book when he gives details of Mallory’s family and friends, till when they lived, what they did and how his grandson did summit the temptress Chomolungma and place his grandfather and grandmother’s photograph on the summit.

A book worth more than just a read.

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