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"It don't gotta be fun to be fun"
If you didn't know, Barry Blanchard is a legend, one of the best climbers around. "The Calling" is the memoir of his younger years. The book has the rough, spontaneous authenticity of the Beats, kind of Kerouac gone climbing (unlikely). It is nerve-racking at times, often funny, sometimes lyrical, and hard to put down. It reads as if... Read More it was written by a young man, which isn't the case. All the passion is there, Barry and his friends (climbing partners) are young, reckless, and almost immortal. And in fact he writes more about his friends than about himself, and appreciates their climbing abilities way more often than he mentions his own skills. Yet he is never shy to share his immense joy of climbing when it felt perfect, almost effortless, like flying, when it was a flow. Obviously extreme climbing isn't always like that, sometimes (quite often, it seems) it's more an "art of suffering". Yet "it don't gotta be fun to be fun", as one of his friends said. Barry's book is fun to read. He wrote one of the best books in the genre, an instant classic. And a truly Canadian one, despite the altitudes being given in feet rather than in meters.
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