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The Everest disasters of recent years have focused world attention on humanity's obsession with high-altitude mountaineering. What is it that drives people to court such awful risk? And what is the real cost in human terms? Nobody has written more eloquently about these matters than BC author Maria Coffey. Fragile Edge details her love affair with elite British mountaineer Joe Tasker, who perished with his partner Joe Boardman while attempting Everest's "unclimbable" Northeast Ridge in 1982. Coffey writes about her experiences first as an observer of the hard-partying mountaineering scene and then during her long journey towards an understanding and acceptance of the tragedy that cost her the man she loved. This book gives us an insider's view of the life of a world-class mountaineer; it also recounts Coffey's deeply moving pilgrimage with Boardman's widow across Tibet, retracing Boardman and Tasker's steps as far as their abandoned Advance Base Camp, 21,000 feet on Everest.
When Fragile Edge appeared in hardcover ten years ago it was hailed for bringing "an extraordinary new dimension" to mountaineering literature. Mountain Magazine called it "Emotionally vivid, a fresh and powerful piece of writing:" Coffey says simply, "It is about the other side of mountaineering-the human side:" It is aside that recent events on Everest have placed more in the forefront than ever before.
This paperback edition contains new photos, a foreword by mountaineering legend Sir Christian Bonington (who led the expedition on which Tasker died) and an updated epilogue by Coffey.
Posted April 14, 2014
I am a high school sophmore and I chose to read this book for my project. Maria Coffey retells her story with great detail and
gives you hope until the end. The story taught me a lot about Mount Everest, it surrounding areas, its cultures and the
mountaineering expeditions. She shows us what motivates mountaineers to want to climb to the top of such dangerous peaks
Maria steps out of her comfort zone to achieve some closure and acceptance in what happened to her boyfriend Joe Tasker on
his attempt to climb Mount Everest. Maria tells of her and her friend Hillary's experience of retracing the steps of their boyfriend
and husband last expedition by climbing to the Advanced Base Camp of Mount Everest. In this story I felt sad for their loss but
hopeful through their ways to finding closure. Their experiences inspired me to set higher goals for the things i would like to
achieve myself. This book helped me in my research project about Mount Everest. I'm glad I read this book and i would
recommend it for others to read.
Posted December 1, 2001
I first read this book several years ago, and felt extremely moved by the writing. The horrific events of Sept 11th this year caused me to pick it up again. Coffey managed to make me interested in what motivated people to climb mountains. Her journey to acceptance of what happened to her boyfriend Joe Tasker, and what it taught her about life, is beautifully described. A book to make you reflect on how precious life is, and how it can all change in an instant. Bit like what happened Sept 11th............Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.