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Climbers: A Novel

M. John Harrison

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Climbing & mountaineering

The beloved cult classic from the winner of the 2020 Goldsmiths Prize: a novel of life-changing moments, incredible descriptions of landscape and the power of an obsession.

'No one alive can write sentences like he can. He's the missing evolutionary link between William Burroughs and Virginia Woolf' Olivia Laing

'Among the most brilliant novelists writing today' Robert Macfarlane

'Truly gets to the heart of that strange, indefinable otherness of the wild northern landscape' Benjamin Myers

Retreating from the ruins of his marriage, Mike leaves London for the wildness of the Yorkshire moors, where he falls in with a group of climbers - a band of misfits and mavericks bound by the pursuit of the unattainable: the perfect climb.

Travelling from abandoned urban quarries to misty, lichened crags, Mike discovers an intensity of experience - a wash of pain, fear and excitement - that causes the rest of his world to recede. Increasingly addicted to the adrenaline, folklore and camaraderie of the sport, he begins to lose his grip on the line between passion and obsession - at a cost.

With an introduction by Robert Macfarlane

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Praise for Climbers: A Novel

  • Stunning . . . Harrison makes an intensely poetic and evocative brew of the interstices between sport, passion and obsession. Moments of exquisite surreality rub against others in which you can smell the soil and stone - The Times

  • Harrison draws the reader on by the clarity of his vision and writing . . . The way he handles the sport and the social background bears comparison with that of David Storey in THIS SPORTING LIFE. I know no higher praise - Independent

  • [A] masterpiece . . . celebrated for its fine-grained depictions of the landscapes of Northern England through the seasons . . . Harrison is a psychological novelist whose fascination with trauma, repression and memory remains constant throughout his work. - London Review of Books

  • The prose ripples with mystery and lustrous turns of phrase, and there are flashes of humour, too . . . The landscapes are part J.G. Ballard, part Iain Sinclair - The Spectator

  • Descriptions of the various climbs are painstaking and suspenseful, and Harrison has a sharp ear for dialogue. But most impressive is his acute sense of place - Daily Telegraph

  • A vivid, restless, deeply cunning novel - Sunday Times

  • A poetic portrait of the strange and fascinating, very niche world of rock climbing - Helen Mort, author of Black Car Burning

  • It feels more than book - it's an adrenalized dream, a series of moods as changeable as the sky above. - Benjamin Myers

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M. John Harrison

M. John Harrison (1945 - ) Michael John Harrison is the author of, amongst others, the Viriconium stories, The Centauri Device, Climbers, The Course of the Heart, Signs of Life, Light and Nova Swing. He has won the Boardman Tasker Award (Climbers), the James Tiptree Jr Award (Light) and the Arthur C. Clarke Award (Nova Swing). He lives in Shropshire.

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