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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 1999
I really enjoyed this book - you really get to know Simpson, and he comes across as a likeable character, although somewhat hapless and accident prone, not to mention easily led (by Greenpeace, for example). Having read, and loved, Touching the Void, I was astonished to discover that the incident in Peru was just one of many extremely close scrapes that Simpson got into, including being swept 2,000 feet down a mountain in an avalanche. This man has considerably more than nine lives. He also makes some admirable efforts to explain why he climbs, and how he deals with the regular deaths of his friends in the mountains. The regularity with which these introspective passages pop up within the text demonstrates that Simpson is turning the issue over in his own mind as much as he is trying to get anything across to us armchair mountaineers. But one or two of these passages stand out among the best in all mountaineering literature. And if you get bored of these bits, a thrilling passage of mountaineering and survival is never too far off. A very entertaining book, and definitely worth reading for anyone who enjoyed Touching the Void (and much better than Dark Shadows Falling).
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on 24 August 2017
The most amazing heart stopping read. Joe Simpson has done it again. He's glued me to another of his excellent books.
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on 26 October 2008
I read this book after reading 'Touching the Void' and I have a basic level of mountaineering experience so I wasn't to phased by any of the jargon of which there is a little. Having ravished 'Touching the Void' I suppose anything is going to be a let down, but I certainly enjoyed his accounts of various climbs and the picture he paints of the climbing community within this book. I was however disappointed by the first few chapters covering his childhood which to me seemed to fill space and wasn't really anything worth reading, as it was no more than a story of kids getting up to mischief, which most kids do. I also began to tire of his inner questioning of why so many of his friends had perished in their pursuits on the mountains as it came across as repeated and non conclusive. I can understand the inner anguish to him given his experiences but again there were times when I felt he was writing about the tragic loss of friends to fill space because his editor needed more. I don't want to belittle the loss of these people however the book was written to be sold and to make money.

Overall though this isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, a bad book. I think Joe Simpson has a talent for writing and he introduces the reader to a world, and a thrill, most will never know in a very emotional way, and includes a good few highly amusing 'laugh out loud' moments along the way. I read it quickly and there are a lot of good sections and interesting accounts of climbs, medical recoveries and friendships and experiences, there were just a few sections where I read to finish it not to enjoy it though.
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HALL OF FAMEon 22 January 2005
This game of ghosts is a valiant attempt by joe simpson to write a sequel to the epic "touching the void", and his honesty and philosophical approach are interesting, but ultimately the book is disjointed and a little repetitive and strangely lacking. upon finishing touching the void, i couldnt wait to find out what happened next, and unfortunately simpson doesnt really linger on this period in any great depth, and there seems to be some reading between the lines required as well, as nowhere is there mention of simon yates contributions to touching the void, other than obviously cutting the rope.
simpson attempts to knit togther the various segments of his life with his motivations and observations on risk and particuliarly mountaineering, but these observations become a little repetitive.
simpson is undoubtedly a good writer, and the mountaineering expeditions he describes again show his simplistic yet effective technique works very well, but lacking the depth and coherence of the previous book.
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`This Game of Ghosts' is Simpson's sequel to `Touching The Void' and is more autobiographical. In fact part one leads up to the accident in Peru and part two takes over from when he was in the hospital afterward, so with the two books you get the complete narrative of his life up until the point this book was written. His childhood in various countries around the world sounds great and his various climbing adventures make for gripping and sometimes cringe making reading. The section when he is driven in a dilapidated van along the Kakakoram Highway in Pakistan, with a heavily laden vehicle, a group of terrified climbing buddies and a tired and stoned maniac driver makes for hilarious and unnerving reading. It is hard to believe one man has had so many accidents and survived relatively unscathed and the amount of near misses and minor injuries (compared to death!) are staggering. Simpson comes across as quite arrogant in his youth and put his climbing partners at risk because of it, but at least he is honest about writing about that aspect of his character, which he often does in a self deprecating way. He comes across as a lot more level headed in books I've read of his since ,`The Beckoning Silence' for example, which is recommended. There are 3 photo plates in this book which show various climbs and injuries and illustrate the various stories well. His style of writing is much the same as in `Touching The Void' (which he explains how he wrote and published) and if you enjoyed that book then it is a safe bet you'll enjoy this one. Overall another good climbing book from Simpson, it makes for entertaining reading even if you wouldn't want to emulate some of his more outlandish exploits.

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on 18 December 1998
The book starts off a bit leadenly with an account of Simpson's upbringing. Once he gets on to the climbing, though, Joe's style catches fire, and the reader is quickly drawn in - and in yet further. Unlike most climbing books, this one gives a real feeling of what the obsession is about - how "could do" becomes "must do", and how "must do" can drag one into situations of all-embracing fulfillment - or complete desperation. Anyone who has been there knows some of these feelings - for the rest, it may go partway there at least. Probably this book, and in its different way, John Harrison's "Climbers", bring one as close to the committed climbers' life as one can get in print.
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on 13 June 2004
After having enjoyed Touching the Void a book that claimed to be its sequel was worth a read. Slow in starting, I did not initially understood why Simpson needed to tell us about his childhood, the book gave a good undestanding of Simpson and his addiction to mountaineering. The desciption of the mugging in Sheffield was just as dramatic as the accident on Pumouri. Simpson has that great ability to enanble his reader to visualise what he is going through. The description of the ankle break and the facial injuries was not one for the screamish and i felt "not again". Simpson's account of the loss of his friends and the wonder of why them and not me is sobering. Amother great offering from Simpson and I would recommend this to all that have read Touching the Void.
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I came to this book after reading Touching the Void and seeing Simpson in the film of the same name. He struck me as such an odd character, a literary man and an adventurer, quietly spoken but a thrill seeker. I was curious to know more. What fascinated me about this book was the fact that the majority of the stories he recounts are about his climbing experiences after the trauma of the episodes in Touching The Void. I remember thinking: 'surely he won't climb again'. How little I knew! Not only did he climb again, but managed to get himself into some comparatively horrible situations. This book doesn't have the narrative sweep of Touching the Void, being episodic in nature. It is however, a fascinating insight into the compulsion to climb and the psyche of the climber. Simpson is a good writer, which makes it all the more memorable and worthwhile a read.
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on 20 September 2000
By the end of Touching the Void I needed to know more about Joe Simpson and why he does what he does - this book answers many of the questions. It's well written, very readable and utterly compelling. These men are inspired and the book captures that inspiration. If, like me, the most dangerous thing you've done is bivouac in the back garden with a flask of hot tea and a bacon butty you'll be amazed at what goes on up top!
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on 8 December 1998
This book started off a bit slow with his reflections on his childhood. He came off quite pompous and self important. Once past that however, there are some excellent stories of his climbing career and great insights into the why's of why he keeps climbing despite all of his disasters. After reading this book, I'm not quite sure how Joe Simpson could ever find a climbing partner.
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