I admit it: I went into this book thinking that Reinhold Messners narrative about seeing the yeti in the Himalaya would be the rambling of a madmen. But this book took me by surprise.
Following his encounter with a strange and foreign creature, Messner digs into the yeti myth and tries to explore the meaning behind this myth to give a possible explanation for it. Could it be an animal that lies behind the origin of the elusive yeti?
First off, there is nothing madmen like about this book. Messner establishes a theory which isn´t preposterous or ridiculous, yet everyone back in the late 80s and early 90s treated him like he was a nut job:
"Go back to your yeti!" shouted an old man as he passed me on the street in the town where I live in Austria. My daughter Magdalena was with me. "Why do people yell at you about the yeti?" she asked me solemnly.
"I don´t know," I replied, "maybe they don´t like what I say about it."
"But it´s none of their business!" she exclaimed, still upset.
"Yes, it is. The yeti belongs to anyone who has heard of it, and no one wants to give up the picture they have in their head. Everyone sees it their own way."
"The real yeti couldn´t care less, right?"
"Absolutely right. The yeti is really thick-skinned. He has no idea that half the world is thinking about him," I said as we drove him.
Messner attitude and the way he deals with vicious people and stupid journalists is pretty great and even though he sometimes comes across as a very rude guy in interviews (at least I perceive him as such), he seems to be a down to earth guy. He says things that very well could be true, but no one is actually listening to him and thus he became "the crazy guy, who has suffered from altitude sickness and, during a hallucination, saw a yeti".
Besides his personal experiences Messner looks at the different theories surrounding the yeti and its possible link to a type of bear called chemo, he explores the connection between the Nazis and the yeti myth and he gives an insight into the strained history of Tibet.
The whole book was a fascinating read and I really enjoyed reading this book. Thank you BrokenTune, for suggesting the buddy read. I would never have picked this book up without you.
And I can count this book towards the 16 tasks of the festive season, which is awesome.
Book themes for Bodhi Day: Read a book set in Nepal, India or Tibet, –OR– which involves animal rescue. (Buddhism calls for a vegetarian lifestyle.)