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  • Writer's pictureBP Gregory

What Are We Reading?: Climbers, M John Harrison

Rating: 5/5 Wistful Epiphanies

Give me the short version: What ought to be an ordinary life of climbing and just getting by instead shatters into mystifying, heartbreakingly perfect fragments.

My first approach to M John Harrison was Light, which is beautifully written, quite classic scifi and in no way adequately prepared me for Climbers. Climbers isn't the sort of easy quick read you buzz through, but much in the vein of John Burnside's haunting A Summer of Drowning unveils rich rewards to those willing to slow themselves down and take the time to understand, instead of expecting an injection of story into the frontal lobe. I suspect the gritty silken feel of the novel is one to stay with readers long after the covers have closed, emerging unexpectedly into a plain day like a shaft of illuminating sunlight.

Favourite bit:

"As it grew dark the lupin in front of Sankey's house gave off like tall translucent candles a perfume so delicate it might have been mistaken for a faint white light."

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