Vernon Rand is a charismatic figure whose great love - whose life, in fact - is climbing. He lives alone in California, where he combats the drudgery of a roofing job with the thrill of climbing in the nearby mountain ranges. Sure of only his talent and nerve, Rand decides to test himself in the French Alps, with their true mountaineering and famed, fearsome peaks. He soon learns that the most perilous moments are, for him, the moments when he feels truly alive.
One of the great novels of the outdoors, Solo Faces is as thrilling, beautiful, and immediate as the Alpine peaks that have enthralled climbers for centuries.
©1979 James Salter (P)2015 Audible Inc.
"Solo Faces contrasts a devotion to mountain climbing with the earthbound tugs of love and ordinary life... A beautifully composed book that will remind readers of Camus and Saint-Exupry. It exemplifies the purity it describes." (The Washington Post)
Salter is usually so much better than this. The protagonist is flat, a wise man working at his craft. Credit is due in that he does change as the story winds on. There are some good climbing scenes among the trackless wastes of aimless wandering-both figuratively and literally.
You could take this as an existentialist descendent of The Stranger and Camus' flat and uninteresting protagonist, Marsault.
If this was Salter's aim, he could have done better with a more compelling plot and engaging characters.
Nothing says you must be tedious to be an existential hero.
"as a climber I was hoping for more reality"
as a climber I was hoping for more reality about the challenge of true rock climbing in that part of the world.
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