To the Mountains: A collection of New Zealand alpine writing selected by Laurence Fearnley and Paul Hersey (Otago University Press, 2018), 372 pp., $45
New Zealand is a mountainous land, so it’s hardly surprising that landscape often shapes our literature. Think of Mulgan’s protagonist Johnson, a fugitive traipsing through the Kaimanawa Ranges in Man Alone. But what of those who deliberately choose to go to the mountains: for exploration, for challenge, for rejuvenation?
Otago-based writers Laurence Fearnley and Paul Hersey have carefully selected material for To the Mountains, the only anthology of New Zealand alpine writing to appear in over three decades. Like the threads of a climbing rope, they blend historic writing with modern, vivid accounts of epic climbs with thoughtful contemplation, and the voices of men with women, Māori with Pākehā, children with adults. This is no random collection, but a considered compilation structured into four themes – ‘Approach’, ‘Climb’, ‘Epic’ and ‘Reflection’ – which mimic a mountaineer’s journey. [Read more…]