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This Game of Ghosts

by Joe Simpson


"There can be few books in which the protagonists arouse such
sympathy in their readers as Touching the VoidThis Game of Ghosts, Joe Simpson's autobiographical sequel, answers the urgent need, created by this compelling narrative, to know what happened next and provides a fascinating insight into the people and events responsible for shaping the man who survived the physical and psychological horrors of the three day crawl back to base camp".
Val Randall, "On The Edge" 1993, August, No. 37, p. 73

"This Game of Ghosts reflects Joe's need to make his own sense of what is essentially beyond reason. Non-climbers know, to their own satisfaction, that all climbers are mad. How do climbers know that they are not? Can they be sure? Joe talks of a twinned glory and waste of climbing, the taint of insanity. He needs to prove to himself that it is not merely a dangerous addiction, that stepping 'into that suspended world of present reality' outside the rest of life has validity, a life-enhancement of its own, even when  later overshadowed by tragedy."
Audrey Salkeld, "Mountain Review" 1993, September/October, p. 69-70

"The enduring thought that you have from reading Ghosts or talking to its author is of a resilient and passionate man who has been lucky and knows it. It is to our enduring loss that many of his friends have not proved so fortunate."
Ed Douglas, "Mountain Review" 1993, September/Octrober, p. 67

"The book is not so much about why we climb - Simpson can't answer that for himself, much less the rest of us - but why we take such risks for such fleeting rewards. Simpson's friends and acquaintances drop one by one throughout the book, each time making Simpson wonder why. The death toll includes not just his friends but his heroes too. Nobody seems immune (…)
Overall this is a great book - the most thought-provoking piece of climbing writing I've read since The Endless Knot, and perhaps the most honest bit of climbing writing I have ever read. If you need inspiration to go climbing, pick up The White Spider or Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage and feast on the heroics. If you're after the true grit of climbing - the beauty, the horror, and the ugly truth - then pick up This Game of Ghosts."
John Sherman, "Climbing" 1993, October/November, No. 140, p. 152-153

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