This book has been on my shelf for a long time so I decided it was time to read it. I was interested in reading a book about the world of mountain climbing from the viewpoint of the girlfriend left at home, worring about the safety of the climber.In 1982 two of Britain's brightest climbing stars-Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman-vanished while climbing a new route on Everest. Maria Coffey had been Joe's girlfriend for about two years when he vanished. His body has never been found. This is her story [...]
When Maria Coffey met Joe Tasker, she felt like she had come home. But Joe Tasker was a man living in two worlds: the cold treacherous slopes of the world's highest and most deadly mountains, and the comfortable, sociable, hard-partying world of England's Derbyshire.Where she wanted commitment and permanence, he could only tell her that as long as he was climbing, he couldn't make commitments. He asked nothing of her and had no expectations; she should do likewise.Then Joe Tasker and his climbin [...]
This is a very good book, presenting a very different perspective on mountaineering. This is the impact that the sport / lifestyle has on those at home - the loved ones.Maria Coffey provides a frank account of her life in and around the hard-partying, high stakes lifestyle of the British climbing community in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She falls in love with Joe Tasker, who disappeared on Mt Everest in 1982 with Pete Boardman. They were part of the British team attempting the east north eas [...]
In 1982, two of Britain's top mountain climbers, Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman, disappeared attempting a first ascent of Mount Everest by the north east ridge. In Fragile Edge, Maria Coffey, Tasker's girlfriend at the time, writes about how she dealt with his death. It is a story of loss complicated by the intensity of Tasker's almost single-minded devotion to his dangerous sport, and the fact that his body was not found and no one knew how he died.Coffey admits that from the beginning, her relat [...]
Having previously read Maria Coffey's fascinating and excellent book "Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Personal Costs of Climbing," I was already familiar with the broad strokes of the story in her memoir "Fragile Edge: A personal portrait of loss on Everest." I knew I would like this book because Coffey really has something interesting to say."Fragile Edge" is the story of her relationship with Joe Tasker, who disappeared high on Mt. Everest, along with his climbing partner Pete Boardma [...]
I really enjoyed reading this book. Maria Coffey tells this story from the heart, and it reads like a novel. So many times you see the story of climbers or extreme athletes, but not from the perspective of someone left behind as their spouse or lover lives on the edge. THroughout the story as she comes to terms with her loss, she also really tries to understand what would make someone want to risk their life doing things like climbing Everest.
An engaging read that provides a different take on the usual mountain-lit formula. Coffey shares a glimpse behind the scenes of the mountaineering world and offers a heartfelt account of life after tragedy. She writes with clarity and emotion. Her vivid descriptions and literary power to capture the subtleties of her surroundings had me reading some sections — especially during her travels through China and Tibet — several times.
The author was the Joe Tasker's girlfriend, and her book illustrates the effects of (predominantly) male heroics on the families/girlfriends, etc. who are not part of their adventures. There is a raw emotion in her depiction of grief and loss. Interesting to compare with other books on the risks climbers take and the toll those risks takers create (eg Joe Simpson's 'Game of Ghosts').
A book that told the story of two climbers who died climbing one of the big mountains from the perspective of the girlfriend left behind. Interesting for all kinds of reasons, not the least being that it fleshes out the story of the two writer/climbers who died.