Joe Simpson was initially famous for not dying on Siula Grande, but is becoming just as well known for the quality of his writing. The Water People is an interesting window in Simpson both as writer and a mountaineer. The Water People is a novel, with mountains and water at its heart. It is the tale of two climbers - one who openly embraces the spirituality of the mountains and a second how is less inclined to see sprits in the rocks and water. As you read the book I think you get a clear picture which one of these is mostly closely modelled on Simpson himself.
Some sections of this novel are a little "preachy", where it is clear that the author has a point to make, and the tone of the book as a novel slips somewhat.
This is a book written early in Simpson's journey as a writer, without the urgency of Touching the Void or the polish of his later works. However, this books has much more to say about being in the mountains and what they can mean to people than most of the "it was a hard slog to camp 3" type mountaineering books.
Most people will find this an interesting extension to the author's factual mountaineering books, and it deserves to be more widely read than it seems to be.
It's far from a great novel, but the themes it tackles - spirituality and connection between distant lands and sometimes distant people - are worthy of exploration.