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Thin Air

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,403 Ratings  ·  400 Reviews
In 1935, young medic Stephen Pearce travels to India to join an expedition with his brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain and one of mountaineering's biggest killers. No one has scaled it before, and they are, quite literally, following in the footsteps of one of the most famous mountain disasters of all time - t ...more
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by Orion
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Michelle Paver's Dark Matter is one of my favourite ghost stories, but I admit, when I heard about Thin Air, I had doubts that she could recreate the same magic. The story just sounded too similar - Dark Matter was about a group of five men embarking on an Arctic expedition in the 1930s; Thin Air is about a group of five men embarking on a mountain-climbing expedition in the 1930s - and I worried that the new story would effectively be a retread of the old one. Inevitably, there are similariti ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-shelf, horror
I really enjoy ghost stories in general, so getting into this modern rendition of a historical mountaineering thriller turned ghost story was pretty fun.

Granted, such stories about climbing mountains in the 30's have a long tradition. And of course, so do ghost stories. But regardless, this mash-up was first and foremost WELL WRITTEN. Modern style, of course.

I had a good time. That's pretty much all. It has brotherly angst, a fight against the elements, tragedy, pettiness, and above all, really
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghost-stories
This is an old-fashioned ghost story, very much in the mould of Michelle Paver’s earlier outing in this genre, Dark Matter. This again involves five men in isolation in extreme circumstances. The setting is a mountaineering expedition in the 1930s to the world’s third highest mountain, Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas. The Guardian review rather neatly sums it up as “Touching the Void” meets Jack London. Central to the story are Stephen, the narrator and team physician who is writing a journal, and ...more
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having really enjoyed, “Dark Matter,” I was keen to read this, new novel, by Michelle Paver. Normally, I dislike comparing an author’s novels, but there is much to compare in, “Thin Air,” to “Dark Matter.” Both deal with remote places and extreme temperatures. Both are, essentially, ghost stories…

It is 1935 and our narrator, Dr Stephen Pearce, has left London, and the woman he was supposed to be marrying, to join his brother, Kit, on a mountaineering expedition. In 1906, Kit’s hero, Sir Edmund L
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
This is the third book I have read by Michelle Paver and like the previous two; Without Charity and Dark Matter is Thin Air an OK book, but like the previous book does this also lack something to make the book great. Now is this book way different from Without Charity since that book is a historical romance. However, Dark Matter is a horror book just as this one. Or rather both are ghost stories without any horror. At least that's how I feel. And, that's the big problem I have with this book. It ...more
Fiona MacDonald
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
Absolutely superb. This was a read in one sitting book. I found it utterly spellbinding and somewhat terrifying, whilst at the same time being able to feel the cold and sense the dread on top of a mountain. I loved the idea of the story - that of a group of men following an expedition up to a mountain near Darjeeling in the 1930s where a tragic accident happened to a similar party years earlier. The sense of unease is tangible from the first page and it had me gripped. This really is an author t ...more
Maria Chnoic
This is about the dread and fear of being isolated on top of a mountain.

Add a touch of altitude sickness and you have a scary situation.

Add your climbing companions inadvertently leaving you behind and you have a terrifying situation.

Add a malevolent presence on the mountain that, whether real or not, most definitely wishes you harm and you have Michelle Paver's Thin Air.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Narrated by Dr Stephen Pearce, this is the story of an expedition to climb the Kanchenjunga mountain in India in 1935.
They follow in the footsteps of a doomed expedition from 1907, when five climbers died. The leader of the expedition, Charles Lyell, wrote his memoir and is widely regarded as a hero.
As the team progresses up the mountain, the unease grows and the sense of menace is portrayed really well by the author.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I liked the writing style and I thought that the au
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read
3.5 stars

A tightly wrought tale that keeps the reader wondering to the end whether the terror is merely psychological, or if there is in fact something dark haunting the slopes of Kangchenjunga.

The main character, Stephen Pearce has joined his older brother Kits in an attempt to scale the summit of Kangchenjunga, following in the footsteps of an ill fated expedition some years before. By turns Stephen is innocently naive and darkly fearful, while simultaneously dismissive of the superstious beh
This book was a slow burner and didn't really get going until the final quarter of the novel which was slightly disappointing but thats how I saw the novel
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, stars-4-0
Having loved Paver's previous ghost story, Dark Matter, I just had to try this new one.

Once more we are in a cold, secluded, location, the Hilamayas instead of the Arctic. At first glance, this is quite similar to her previous story but the feel is quite different. I would guess that this kind of tale requires a remote and dangerous setting, somewhere secluded and cut off the real world. Kangchenjunga, as well as other mountains, are places of wonder, where the immense scale becomes alien, and w
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
I love stories about climbing expeditions so I try to read as many as I can. This one focuses more on the ghost story aspect versus a lot of climbing details which is still great but if you are looking for more of a technical perspective then you probably want to read a true account instead of this.

With that said, I enjoyed this story immensely but when it's all said and done, it didn't 'wow' me like I was hoping for. It had all of the ingredients of a good ghost story but I just didn't get tha
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Hmm. I have no doubt at all that Michelle Paver is a talented author, she certainly writes about the cold and snow very well, but... well I wasn’t at all scared. Not once. I felt the same way about 'Dark Matter,' I couldn’t see what everyone else was talking about, I still don’t. The two novels are very similar and sadly I was underwhelmed by both of them.
I really wanted to love Paver's books, the premises sound like the type of fiction that I love but they fail to deliver. Perhaps all the King
Sean Smart
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant ghost story set in the snowy Himalayas of Nepal - I couldn't put it down and read in a day
H.A. Leuschel
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an utterly compelling, engrossing and fascinating read. What I loved about this story is that although it's labelled as a 'ghost story', the author described the severe symptoms climbers can experience so well that there was a fine line between reality and mountain sickness induced delusion. The tension between both made it creepy and suspenseful. The novel is set in the Himalayas in 1935 where five Englishman set off from Darjeeling to climb the world's third-highest peak - Kangchenjunga, ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it

I originally picked up The Mountain thinking it was this book but realised my mistake shortly into that book, in my defence the descriptions and covers both had mountains. I saw this in an Audible sale and decided to rectify my mistake. This was an entertaining listen into a mountaineering expedition met with a ghost story.

For me the more interesting part was the expedition and the sibling rivalry between the main character and his brother. There’s something about mountaineering in these de
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I really enjoyed aspects of this, I couldn't suspend my disbelief in ghosts enough to care two figs about the outcome.
Having read and really enjoyed Michelle Paver's previous ghost story, the super chilling Dark Matter, I just had to try out her latest spooky tale. I was not disappointed. Although similar to the aforementioned 'Dark Matter' in several ways, mainly through the use of another extreme and isolated setting, Paver has once again created a spine tingling tale that takes hold of you from the first page and doesn't let you go until the very end. The horror is very old school and subtle, more in line wi ...more
Heather Eames
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I really wanted to like this book, and it was a quick read however I did not feel anything for the majority of the characters (I didn't mind the main character). The creepiness level was fairly low and the fact that there was no actual conclusion to the paranormal element and we are left to make up our own minds mildly irritates me personally). The ending was dissatisfying and predictable. It is such a shame as I was looking forward to this book as I wanted a slightly spooky read. I w ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was a pretty good ghost story set in the desolate high peaks of Kangchenjunga. I especially liked the setting for this, making this not only a ghost story but a story of survival. I perhaps would have enjoyed this book a bit more if I had read it on a cold winter night instead of the during a nice and sunny spring day as I might have been more easily transported into a haunted ghostly setting, but as it stands I give it 3 stars.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Found this a really good read. It was just the right level of eerie and suspenseful without scaring me witless. I loved the ambiguity of it too, was there a ghost or did the altitude make him imagine things not there?
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, netgalley
In brief - A mountaineering ghost story - all in all it worked for me, readable and 3.5/5 certainly and rounded to 4.

This book is in essence a ghost story in a mountaineering setting. It's about an inter wars expedition who are attempting to climb Kangchenjunga. The proposed route is one used by a pre war expedition which ended in disaster. Two brothers are on the team however they have very different personalities and approaches to the climb. Dr Stephen Pearce is a doctor and a late arrival to
Amelia Jacobson
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A slim, taut tale of two ill-starred Kanchenjunga expeditions and a haunting. The voice of a 1930s British narrator is captured incredibly well, to the extent that I initially found it hard going because of the casual racism towards the sherpas who made all these mad imperialist quests in the Himalayas possible. It's a slow build, deeply atmospheric, and quietly devastating.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
I liked this a lot, if not quite so much as 'Dark Matter'. The reasons for this falling a little short (but only a very little) are purely subjective. As an illustrative for instance, reading a novel set in the bone-chilling cold of a a high-altitude mountain climb is always going to be harder to immerse oneself in fully if it is read during the hottest days of the year, in days of 18-hour sunshine and skies of ceaseless cerulean.

Don't let my nit-picking put you off; it really is a very good bo
Jun 19, 2017 marked it as unfinished
As far as I can tell, this is well written. Just not one for emetophobes. I didn't even make it to the supernatural bit.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Horror in the Himalayas...

It's 1935. When the medic for a Himalayan expedition is injured, Dr Stephen Pearce is asked to stand in. His elder brother Kits is already part of the expedition. There's always been a sibling rivalry between the two brothers and, although acknowledging that Kits is the better climber, Stephen determines that he too will make it to the summit of Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world and as yet unconquered. The team of five men proposes to tackle the Sou
Janette Fleming
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"The Himalayas, 1935. Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far - and the mountain is not their only foe. As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried. And sometimes, the truth does not set you free."

I adore ghost stories and I am an armchair mountaineer plus having loved t
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There was something mesmerizing about this story - about the mountains and the pure joy of being among the first to climb it, and the first to possibly conquer it.
Michelle Paver paints a beautiful picture of it; there were several times - for better and for worse - where I could really imagine being right there: coming upon the cairn of Dr. Yates, hearing the avalanche roar down the mountain... being inside a claustrophobic ice cave, wondering - hoping - that you really are all alone.

I've alway
Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
Unnerving and spooky Himalayan climbing novel.

Set in the 1930s the story tells of an expedition to climb Kangchenjunga, a high peak in the Himalayas following in the footsteps of a disastrous attempt 20 years earlier.

The book is narrated by the team doctor, younger brother of one of the climbers who suffers from the sibling rivalry of his elder more successful brother.

Paver captures well the desolate landscape as she cranks up the atmosphere of impending danger and unease as the climb progresses
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add book cover 3 14 Jan 18, 2018 05:57AM  
Michelle Paver was born in Central Africa, but came to England as a child. After gaining a degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University, she became a partner in a City law firm, but eventually gave that up to write full-time.

The hugely successful Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series arose from Michelle's lifelong passion for animals, anthropology and the distant past - as as well as an encounter
More about Michelle Paver

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“Yesterday, I was in Hatchards, and I saw a photograph of it, the usual view from Darjeeling. Everything flooded back. The cold. The silence. The dread. It was so overwhelming that I staggered outside and vomited in the gutter. People thought I was drunk.” 1 likes
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