The title of this novel, ‘Touching the void’ is an interesting one and one that provokes thought and an understanding of the situations that occur to Joe Simpson and his climbing partner Simon, the novel takes us as readers on a journey through the trials and tribulations of the climbers leading to personal conclusions to the ‘void'(s) they encounter and overcome.
Touching the void can mean a variety of things to a number of people, the word void meaning many things and in a way a contradictory word by the fact it means the absence of something but can also mean the presence of something or someone or something creating a void between you and a goal or physicsl object.
From the book I have deduced that the void talked about is that of being so close it yet being so far, the contemplation of death and the implications of the situation encountered, we find Joe thinking about the possibility of death at his anticlimax at the top of the mountain when he says “I didn’t like the thought of where it may be taking me”. Although many would approach the title as a physical void, an obstacle maybe, we also can view it from an almost metaphorical point of view. Void can mean emptiness, and in this case could be a reference to either the life of Joe, Simon or both of them. Deep into the text we read a passage from Joe where he is analysing his, what he describes as an addiction to climbing. He explores the futileness of it, what it will bring him and why he is trying to overcome greater challenges (mountains) every time he felt unsatisfied he says “which gave me time to wonder what I was doing” this displays to us a ‘void’ in Joe’s life.