Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Recommended: Summit by Harry Farthing

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

I loved this novel.

Summit is what I like to call a literary thriller — adventure, conflict, brave deeds, beautifully written, filled with philosophy and politics, and not formulaic. It’s the debut effort of Harry Farthing who, from his website, is a British businessman, world traveler, and adventurer. I listened to the audio edition, which was read by the author. He has an excellent voice and I greatly enjoyed his performance.

The summit referred to in the title is Mount Everest, highest peak on Earth. The mountain is central to the dual stories of two European mountaineers — one modern, one pre-World War II. In both settings, Farthing pays respectful attention to the Sherpa, who are well-rounded characters with stories of their own. The author is in no hurry to bring the two principle story threads together, but that’s all right, because both plot lines are fascinating and well told.

There is also a timeliness to Summit as it explores the politics and atrocities of Nazi Germany alongside the dangerous modern-day resurgence of European fascism.

If you love tales of adventure and mountaineering, backed with historic detail, and featuring believable, sympathetic characters, then give Summit a try — and let me know what you think!

Short Review: The Accountant

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

It’s been ages since I’ve been to a movie theater, but yesterday circumstances worked out and Ron and I went to see The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck. The film’s summary description begins:

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations.

Ron and I were still debating which movie to see while we were standing in line to buy tickets. I was Googling this film, the new Jack Reacher, and Deep Water Horizon, trying to determine which were filmed with “shaky cam.” Have I ever mentioned that I loathe shaky cam? I get motion sickness, watching it. The Bourne Ultimatum was the worst, and since then I’ve tried to avoid shaky cam, not always successfully. It’s my firm opinion that a well-written, well-made thriller does not require an unsteady point of view to keep the audience awake — and The Accountant is an excellent example of this.

Of the three movies, only The Accountant was clearly mentioned as not being shaky cam, so that’s the one we went to see — and I’m glad we did. Both Ron and I gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

Fair warning: this is a violent, morally ambiguous story. That said, it’s not your standard, clichéd thriller. I found it well written, and I admired the way flashbacks were used to gradually bring in the back story — ultimately not in the way I’d expected. Filming, acting, and sound track were all well done.