Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Conquering Everest: The Lives of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, by Helfand & Tayal

Lewis Helfand and Amit Tayal write a true life comic book based on the lives of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in Conquering Everest. It's the first comic I've read since I was a teenager, and I have to say I had a great time reading it. Helfand, the writer, and Tayal, the illustrator bring back the drama in the story of these two high-altitude pioneers that was understated in early accounts and often washed out in subsequent narratives. Helfand has clearly done his research on Tenzing and Hillary, and he presents here the most complex, exciting, yet accurate account of their lives I've seen for young readers. The framing narrative of a conversation between Tenzing and Hillary is, of course, hypothetical (but effective). Tayal's illustrations are dramatic and complex, though not quite as carefully researched. They are, however, bold and colorful, and add give the story a cinematic feel. I appreciated the sense of place he created in many of his larger panels, such as his illustration of old Kathmandu.

I appreciated the intertwining of the stories of Tenzing and Hillary in this narrative. So many biographers separate them out, but it was the similarities between these men that got them to the top of Everest, such as their intrepidity, their fitness from a life of hard work, and their trust in each other. Conquering Everest covers their lives from their boyhood days to their deaths, focusing naturally on their ascent of Everest. It's a great book. I highly recommend!

No comments:

Post a Comment