I finished Jon Krakaur's novel, Into Thin Air tonight. I tore through it in seven days, turning pages during lunch breaks, every time I sat down on the subway and until I couldn't keep my eyes open in bed each night. This book was perfect for me, covering areas of great interest: mountaineering, pushing limits, wilderness survival, natural beauty and respect for mother nature.
Krakaur takes time to introduce the members of his expedition, from the experienced guides and Sherpas, to the clients who's experience ranged from minimal to impressive. He takes a few chapters to accomplish this, but I would not say that the book has a slow beginning. His description of the mountain goddess "Sagarmatha" (Everest) and the personalities and backgrounds of the climbers involved, is both stimulating and crucial for the readers appreciation of the 1996 tragedy that unfolds.
This book had my heart pounding. Had my mind switched into survival mode. My eyes; nearly tearing up at times. Thinking: oh shit! with each unfortunate twist of fate. I imagined myself climbing the mountain, fighting the cold, concentrating my efforts on the summit and deliberating the decision to push on to the top of the world or turn back and head down the mountain. Krakaur did such a great job of communicating the mental, emotional and physical anguish of the expedition, that I could not help but feel the anguish myself. So, bottom line: I loved this book.