Customer Reviews


 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiva
Once or twice in a lifetime a mountaineering story crosses the divide between pure mountaineering and human interest, bridging the gap and becoming a "mainstream" hit. Touching the Void had that special appeal that could bring in a non-climbing audience, catapulting it's author and participants to fame and successful careers as writers and motivational speakers. The tale...
Published on 9 May 2012 by Dave Mycroft - MyOutdoors.co.uk

versus
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Self indulgent sixth form pish.
I'm really surprised at all the 5 star reviews of this book. It's not very well written and employs some annoying literary devices that are so frequently repeated to the extent that I'd quite like to kick the author up the bum.
Published 2 months ago by A. K. Wilkinson


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiva, 9 May 2012
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
Once or twice in a lifetime a mountaineering story crosses the divide between pure mountaineering and human interest, bridging the gap and becoming a "mainstream" hit. Touching the Void had that special appeal that could bring in a non-climbing audience, catapulting it's author and participants to fame and successful careers as writers and motivational speakers. The tale of human survival against all the odds gripped readers and viewers around the world, and justifiably so, but after reading Fiva I seriously doubt that TTV would have had half the success it has achieved if the epic story of the Stainforth twins had been written first. There's no getting away from the fact that Fiva is essentially a mountaineering book, describing a single attempt on a single climb, but like TTV it reaches far beyond the limitations of the sport and into the realm of epic survival stories.

Fiva is the stoty of a pair of twins setting out to climb a route of the same name in Norway. Armed only with a rough description and the confidence of youth the climb turned into a true epic with not only the summit uncertain but survival itself hanging in the balance. Loose rock, lack of experience and a lamentable lack of equipment that included just a single ice axe between the pair conspired to test the physical and mental strength of the the Stainforth twins. Despite over 40 years passing between the events of Fiva and the telling of it, it's a book that's as relevant today as it was then and benfits from the passing of the years. Though the author attempts to write Fiva in the style and with the mentality of the teenager he was at the time there's a maturity in the writing that I doubt would have been present if the book had been written at the time.

Fiva starts unusually with the author's return to the mountain 40 years on, setting the scene before turning the clock back to 1969 and plunging headlong into unremitting adventure. Success, failure, life and death hangs in the balance throughout as the twins discover they've bitten off something far bigger and far harder than they could have imagined with the daunting face of the mountain taking on its own persona as they pit themselves against it.

Writing from the perspective of a teenager, forty years on, the author does an amazing job in revisiting what must have been a life changing experience. The confidence and invulnerability of youth is all there as if the tale was only yesterday, but against it stands the immovable object of Store Trolltind, unforgiving and unremmiting. To take on the challenge with just 2 bars of chocolate a few sandwiches and a scrap of paper as a route description typifies the exuberance of youth and leads to the twins' inevitably finding themselves high on the mountain fighting for survival.

In the re-telling of the epic that follows the author puts the reader on the wall with the two brothers, relating the climb step by step. There's nothing new in the approach but in Fiva it's taken to extreme and each single sentence is idividually honed and crafted in such a way that the book, like the climb, becomes all consuming. The reader discovers the route, the mountain and the reality of the situation gradually to the point that although you know the brothers must have survived to write the book 40 years on you really do find yourself fearing for them. Minute by minute the climbers' situation is revealed and with it their thoughts, feelings and responses - all from that unique teenage persepctive. Fiva breaks the modern trend of psyco-analysing everything from "why I climb" to family relationships in being a pure adventure story in the best traditions of "Boys Own" but in it's own unique way it answers those questions like no other book.

Fiva may be a book about a mountaineering epic, but in reality it's far more. It's a doorway into the mind of not just the author and his brother, but into the glow of youth. The quality of the writing superb, the pace slowly builds as the story unfolds making it almost impossible to put down. Gordon Stainforth will be at next week's Keswick Mountain Festival - I, for one, will search him out just to say thank you. Fiva is a work of art, a superbly crafted story that once read will never be forgotten.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best mountaineering book I have ever read?, 9 May 2012
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
I got my copy of Fiva a couple of days ago and couldn't put it down, although at times I wanted to as the way the drama unfolds minute by minute had me feeling totally involved as if I was on the route with them.

It's beautifully written and though a blow by blow account it doesn't become remotely tedious as many mountaineering tales can. Once I've got my breath back I'm gong to read it again!

If you haven't got it, then get it. I seriously think Gordon's got a future classic on his hands. Touching the Void was brilliant but Fiva's even better and possibly the best mountaineering book I've ever had the pleasure of reading!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars five stars for fiva!, 23 April 2012
By 
pookie "Pookiejuju" (Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
HEY GUYS THIS WAS UNPUTDOWNABLE!! I READ IT FROM COVER TO COVER IN ONE GO ..even put off having tea until I got to the last page ....Gordon writes so well, a real craftsman and every page is a joy to read. I went through every emotion as the Stainforth twins with youthful exuberance, naivety , charm and arrogance ...yet blessed with keen intelligence and sensitity embarked on their climbing adventure. I thoroughly recommend it , fabulous story brilliantly told ...GO AND BUY IT NOW!!!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiva: An AdventureThat Went Wrong, 15 May 2012
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
Fiva (pronounced `fever') is the name of a 6,000-foot route on Store Trolltind, a giant cliff in Norway. The subtitle, An Adventure That Went Wrong, speaks for itself; it also carries the flavour of laconic self-mockery that makes this book such a delight.
Epics are standard fare of mountaineering narratives; what elevates Fiva is the manner of Gordon Stainforth's telling of it. The Stainforth twins were two days late back at camp, they'd hardly eaten in that time, had fallen hundreds of feet, been hopelessly lost, Gordon had smashed his left knee, it was turning gangrenous and starting to smell.
Like all the best climbs, Fiva is a gripper. It should, as publicists like to say, appeal to climber and non-climber alike. If there is any justice left in the publishing world it will be a best seller. 'Touching the Void'? Move over!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars who said things couldn't get worse........, 16 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
What a great story. Saw the range of excellent reviews with some disbelief. However, when they came from such high and exalted places, I realised there must be some truth in them. Needless to say I have now read the book and have to agree with other reviewers.

It is a quite extraordinary, all the more so by the fact that the gestation period was over forty years. This is possibly something to do with the area as Tony Howard's well-acclaimed Troll Wall was over forty years in the waiting.

Gordon Stainforth has written this true story in the present tense, which makes the reader feel as if he might be there now, as he reads. I like the honest and slightly self deprecating tone that weaves its way through the story. Gordon and his twin brother as nineteen year olds and three years experience behind them must have thought they were invincible - only to proceed along a journey of errors.

It isn't a long book or exceptionally technical and would appeal to a wider audience than climbers and mountaineers alone. Another thing that added something to the book is the fact that Gordon's brother has also contributed a section at the end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fever Pitch - A Gripping Yarn, 21 April 2012
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
This really is THE most gripping book I have ever read! Gordon grabs your attention right at the beginning then holds it to the very end at an incredible pace. Better known for his superb mountain photography, Gordon shows that he can also pen at the highest level, writing here at his brilliant best. The use of the first-person present tense is an inspired choice of format that gives the story a remarkable immediacy, and moves the events along at a rapid pace.

40 years on from when the events took place, Gordon disarmingly bares his soul in this frank account of youthful naivety and exuberance, wonderfully capturing the unbridled enthusiasm that so quickly turned into a true mountaineering epic and near total disaster for himself and his twin brother John. This is so much more than a tale of derring-do and disaster in the mountains, and deserves a much, much wider audience. I'd certainly put it alongside, if not above, 'Touching the Void' and '127 Hours'. Gordon deserves immense success - a thoroughly refreshing, absorbing and compelling story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long day on the hill..., 4 April 2013
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
Anyone who has spent time climbing or walking in the mountains, has had the odd occasion when things don't quite go to plan. Perhaps it is as simple as having had to back-off an over ambitious route, descending late in the dark, or having ended up having to spend a cold night out on the hill. I have heard these days described as "experiences". Hopefully these pass by without serious injury, and with time can be matured in the memory banks as not so bad an experience after all.

As the title suggests `Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong' is a book about when things go wrong on a grand scale. When youthful ambition, combined with some degree of inexperience, collude to create a series of events that has our heroes somewhat out of their depth. Be prepared to read this book from cover to cover, as you won't want to leave the brothers Stainforth on the hills alone. Be warned, Gordon's use of the first person leaves you tied into the rope, shivering on the belays and feeling his pain and hunger as the ascent continues.

Fiva comes with excellent credentials, as it was a finalist for the Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature 2012, and won the 2012 Banff Mountain Book Festival, Mountain Literature Award. For those not familiar with the world of mountain literature, these are the top awards in this area. Gordon is no stranger to critical acclaim having previously published two award-winning books on the British mountains, but showcasing Gordon's skills as a photographer: Eyes to the Hills: Mountain Landscape of Britain (Photography), which won the 1992 Thomas Cook Illustrated Travel Book Award, and The Cuillin, which won the 1994 Banff Mountain Book Festival Best Book of Mountain Image. I would also strongly recommend The Peak: Past and Present.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best climbing book of 21st Century so far, 11 April 2012
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
Lucky enough to go to the book launch of this book. Often in climbing books you find yourself skip reading long sections to get to the 'fun bits' but not with FIVA. To me the writing has the story telling skill of Peter Gillman, the dramatism of Rene Desmaison whilst retaining the poetic feeling of Giusto Gervasutti.

A book to be read and read again, this isn't a dull "we went out, climbed a route, it was hard, nearly died but didn't" story. Nor is it a book trying to explain "why we climb etc". It's just a great story that happens to be true written by a true craftsman.

Gordon is one of the few climbers out their who can actually write. This book is destined to become a classic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nail-biting tale of adventure, 2 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
Although an account of events of more than forty years ago, Fiva is written in the first person present tense, giving it an immediacy that meant once I started it, I couldn't put it down.

Stainforth perfectly captures the sense of youthful adventure of the two brothers, brimful of confidence, climbing Troll Wall. The writing is evocative - you get the sense of Stainforth choosing each word carefully whether describing the 'damp flanks of the dinosaur' they are climbing or discussing the limitations of phrases such as 'curtain of rock'.

As a climber, I especially enjoyed the period details - hemp ropes tied round their waists, big boots, Millar mitts and their 'space blanket'. Descriptions of this kit, along with some brilliant photos, bring the story to life and make it all the more remarkable when compared with the technical kit we have today.

Stainforth expertly keeps the tension in his tale right to the nail-biting conclusion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIVA - Fantastic!, 9 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong (Paperback)
FIVA is a truly extra-ordinary account of mountaineering at the `sharp end'. I would put it alongside "Touching the Void" as a tale of the absolutely incredible ability that some human beings have for finding the inner strength to survive when others would be overcome by the odds. The pace and freshness of the text transported me on to exposed rock, balanced over an abyss, with adrenalin coursing through my veins. This is an unputdownable account of the Stainforth twins' absolute determination not to be beaten. I thoroughly recommend this to all men of courage who would follow in their footsteps and hand holds - and to the rest of us 'mice' who would shudder to do so!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong
Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong by Gordon Stainforth (Paperback - 29 Mar. 2012)
£9.95
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews