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Cham Paperback – 10 Jul 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (10 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846686350
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846686351
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 827,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Jonathan Trigell's writing soars when describing the sublime mountain scenery and the rushing, redemptive exhilaration of skiing... But he's equally at ease conveying the murky moral ambiguity of Itchy's life...Exposing the darkness at the heart of a white world, Trigell's second novel is tense with foreboding: a clever, contemporary cliff hanger. (Metro)

Does for extreme winter sports what Alex Garland's The Beach did for backpacking. (Financial Times)

A book worth experiencing (NewBooksMag 2008-07-01)

Trigell's writing has the ability to reach down into the depths of people's souls and discover their murkiest secrets. At times, Cham is challenging, explicit and uncomfortable. (Marion Johnson Aesthetica magazine 2008-07-01)

Conveys the intoxicating nature of powder skiing, the awesome beauty of the mountains (Financial Times)

About the Author

Jonathan Trigell was born in Welwyn in 1974. In 2002 he completed an MA in creative writing at Manchester University. He has been a TV extra, an outdoor pursuits instructor and a ski rep. His first novel, Boy A, won the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for best work in the Commonwealth by an author under 35, and the Waverton Good Read Award, also for best first novel of 2004. Boy A is now a major feature film starring Andrew Garfield and Peter Mullan.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you have ever had the good fortune to holiday in Chamonix, this book is part thriller, part reminisce about the time you spent there. However read with no prior knowledge of the place, this book would still not disappoint. The landscape and environment are beautifully described, whilst at the same time revealing the dark underbelly of the seasonnaire's life. The main character Itchy isn't immediately likeable (if at all in the whole novel) but is compelling, forcing you to continue to the end to find out what happens. This novel also makes good use of romantic prose to show the similarities between the past and the present. An incredibly mature and exciting read - I finished it in one night. It does make you feel uncomfortable in places though as it reveals a variety of moral stances. Don't let this put you off.. Off to read his first novel, Boy A now.
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Format: Paperback
I really loved this book. I first bought it because I read a review somewhere that said it was like the novel The Beach, only set in a ski resort. Actually if anything it is much better than The Beach, but it has a similar sort of darkness at it's heart. People thinking they are leaving normal life and it's problems behind, only to find they can't. I've never been to Chamonix, or skiing or snowboarding, but I feel like I know that world after reading Cham. Its a good gripping read, but there's a lot of hidden depths as well, like the crevices in the glaciers...
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Format: Kindle Edition
After having read and LOVED both Genus and Boy A by Jonathan Trigell, I felt I needed to complete the trio by reading his second novel Cham. I was really nervous of reading Cham, because I had loved both the others and didn't want to feel disappointment, and also because it has had some very critical reviews on Amazon.

At first hand Cham is a novel about Itchy, who works seasonally at French ski resort Chamonix, the location where Jonathan Trigell himself happens to live. In the holiday town, which has a certain cache of cool, tourists come and go, whilst those who work the season stay.

But in this town, a place of thrills and enjoyment, a rapist stalks the international revellers, who is he, and who should be scared?

It would be a mistake to think that this novel is either about Chamonix, or skiing, though both appear in part as background, so if you go to Chamonix and love it or if you're going to Chamonix and are looking for a touristy book, this is not that book. With that, I'm not saying that you shouldn't read Cham, you should, you should just adjust your expectations of it.

This novel is about Itchy and the psychology of Itchy, who himself is running scared from his past. A fan of Byron and Shelley who popularised Chamonix in their era, Itchy is an interesting study. He comes across as a disgusting person, an advantage taking egotist and this opinion of him increases in the reader the more you learn. The lifestyle he lives at Chamonix is very much like that of 'a lad in university', all drunkenness, and pleasure and shagging about.

If this was the sum of the novels parts it might be a fair assessment to call it shallow, but it's not.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Do not be misled - this book is not about Chamonix, those who read it to hear more about their much loved Chamonix will be disappointed!
It is about the life of the seasonnaire, and those who have 'done a season' will love it! If you have never doe a season, then I'm not sure you would really understand the book at all.
The book is a little padded, and I totally skipped some chapters, but the story itself was a thrill to read. Thanks Mr Trigell. It was nice to be understood as a seasonnaire!
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Format: Paperback
Recently moved to Cham and was recommended the book shortly after. I have to say it truly captures Chamonix's feel and presence with a startling accuracy. Whether you have visited Cham or not, if you play in powder you know these people, from the outset you are in the front room with powder junkies and your about to take a snort of the bad stuff. A graphic thriller on a mountain top, It's a must for a snow hound in need of a read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good follow up novel to Boy A and although a very different book directionally wise it still has that dark under current running through it. Also similarly to Boy A our main character is very much an anti hero with obvious character flaws and yet we can't help being drawn to him. The book has flashbacks interjected throughout which gradually explain how how our hero ended up in Cham - the link to Lord Byron and the ancient story competition on the banks of Lake Geneva adds an historical bent too. I can't help thinking that this book is part auto-biographical given that the novelist now lives in Chamonix indulging his passion for skiing!
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Format: Paperback
A novel that in many ways pays a bit of homage to Chamonix, the town in the Alps that is all about superlatives: “the longest; the highest; the biggest; the most dangerous”.

The author has spent a decade in the Alps working right across the ski industry and his experience shines through. He writes with an authority and relish that brings life on the slopes to the reader. Descriptive passages of snow and scenery are superbly rendered, “powder’ is afterall what it’s about – “It comes so infrequently, lasts unsullied by the sun, unblasted by wind, untracked by people for such a brief instant, that it is purity and transience and pleasure distilled”.

The author is clear that the Chamonix he depicts is very real in many aspects, but for the purpose of the noir undertone, he has used a little writer’s license. He depicts Cham Sud as the ghetto where the workers live, who service the engine that is Chamonix in the Winter. It is a run down area and beneath it is a large, decrepit car park, where a series of rapes take place.

Itchy is the main character who is motivated to track down the rapist, and discovers a lair – a kind of underground cave in the car park, from where he can monitor comings and goings, hoping to catch the rapist red-handed. This might seem odd (which indeed it is) but it is a device that allows the author to digress – the author is at pains to introduce the reader to the works of an exclusive group, living in or around the Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva in 1816. Byron, together with John Polidori, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley, spent much time in each other’s company and it was here that the story of Frankenstein found its beginnings. Frankenstein, too, lived in a cave, up in the mountains around Chamonix.
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