on the World
This autobiography proves to have been more than worth the wait. The insights we are granted here into just what MacArthur went through genuinely tug at the heart--and never in any sentimental or manipulative way. Her very air of "ordinariness" (no film-star looks, no breast-beating egomania as in all too many sports personalities) was refreshing, but it's that monumental endurance and skill she demonstrated on her epic voyage that commands our admiration. The earlier sections of the book, detailing her childhood in Derbyshire (quite some distance from the sea) may have us impatient for her great ocean adventure, but they're skilfully and affectingly written. And when she begins her preparations for the Vendée Globe, we take a deep breath, knowing that we'll experience all the arduous adventure and danger that is facing her.
Some may argue that autobiographies are being written by younger and younger authors, with their lives still ahead of them. But surely (in this case) the timing is perfect. --Barry Forshaw
has established himself as the leading mountaineering writer of
his time, and The Beckoning Silence is a bold reassertion of that
status. Always strong on the personal meaning of the challenge,
here he is superb on the bubbling fear that forms such a critical
element of the climber's kit; the minutiae of circumstance that
seemingly separate the survivors and the dead; and the crisis that
envelopes a climbing partnership on the mountainside, at the instant
extreme pressure disturbs the balance of shared ambition and ability.