I have often thought it would be impossible to write a novel with paragliding as its central theme without it degenerating into a string of hackneyed phrases and clichés. It seems to me there would be only so much one could say about the wonders of paragliding or the joys of free flight without becoming repetitively boring - and that would be long before filling a book. Adding a story line as well, would, I thought, just be a thin excuse to add more clichés. Well, I was wrong, and Greg's book proves it. I laughed and cried as I read 'Beyond the Invisible'. I wish I'd written it. I wish I'd written some of it. I wish I'd written any of it. So much of what is expressed struck powerful chords with my own memories and thoughts on my personal experiences of paragliding, right from the beginning to the present day. I know Greg to be a mystical sort of chap, but I didn't realise he could write poetry like that, and so much of it, and so appropriately in context. Yes, the book does have a story line, but it adds to and blends cleverly with what he has to say about his own passion for paragliding. Even the route the story took and the ending kept me guessing. There is nothing trite or simplistic about it at all. I imagine this must be Greg's first major publication. It came as a wonderful surprise to find how easy Greg's prose is to read and how well it flows, and in my opinion how very well written it is. I found I could own Greg's book, and hold it, and realise that it was written by one of us. There was plenty in there for me and I am sure there is plenty for anybody moved by the gifts of Nature, not just us paraglider pilots. Get a copy of Greg's book and read it! I think that just as for Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings', the free-flying community of the future and everyone else for that matter is going to be divided into those who have read Greg's book and those who haven't. Thank you Greg for giving paragliding such a beautiful gift. --Richard Grant, Rhodes University
A paragliding novel? Come off it! No, really, it's true. Greg Hamerton is a South African pilot and instructor, and he's written a flying book! Only in some respects it's as much about flying as Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was about motorbikes - and in fact has a little of that book's flavour of self examination and discovery. The book's sub-title - Flying from fear to freedom - gives the game away. It's the story of the narrator's actual and metaphysical journey towards a state of more profound understanding of this earth and of himself. Much of the journey is accomplished by flying, but much more by our seeker confronting his fears and breaking through them to discover the truths they contain. A number of encounters along the way each lead to deeper enlightenment, not least with a strange, semi-mystical, all-knowing fellow who drops big but sometimes unfathomable hints about the true meaning of life (shades of Richard Bach's Illusions here - it's no coincidence that Hamerton's company is called the Illusion Project). Also encountered, among other creatures, are the Sink Monster and a number of telepathic eagles, good pilots all, with whom our hero becomes ever more closely engaged. This kind of all-the-world's-an-instruction-manual self discovery book is not new, and some of its aphorisms - 'You hold the key to change and freedom in your hands'; 'The answers are all out there, you just need to discover the questions'; Expect miracles!' - have a very familiar ring, but this is the first book by a free flier to attack such a delicate subject area. Hamerton's prose is nicely turned - some of his descriptive passages about actual flying are so sharp you can almost hear the fabric rustle above you - and his settings - Bulwer, Dasklip, etc, are at once familiar and enticing. Even if you're not bent on self-discovery, it's well enough written to hold your interest on flying alone, and (as free flying novels are about as rare as a gold-plated karabiner) it's hard to find a good reason not to examine it. My verdict is full marks to Greg Hamerton for confronting his own fears and writing this book. It's perhaps a little over long, and occasionally repetitive, but the flying stuff is well done and the every-weakness-is-a-strength philosophy is by no means too hard to take and often uplifting. Whatever you keep in your harness for waiting-for-a-retrieve reading, get through it quick and substitute Beyond the invisible. You may not get to heaven, but for those lonely hours when your batteries have gone flat, it's the business. --Joe Schofield, Skywings Magazine
Beyond The Invisible is about the freedom of flight and how it can change the world we see. It follows a quest for perfection amongst the eagles, high above the South African wilderness. It is a mystical tale told from the wing, a story about setting fear aside in the search for self-mastery.