I'm glad to see that Simon Mawer's The Fall has been suggested for Tony Astill's list of mountaineering books by British writers, over on ClimbUK. The winner of the 2003 Boardman Tasker prize, it’s a tale of two life-long friends, linked by their shared love of climbing, as well as various women in their lives.
The success of The Fall is that it’s a mountaineering novel that can be enjoyed by anyone - something not all books of the genre seem to manage. Mawer combines gripping mountain top drama and tangled relationships, whilst weaving social, as well as climbing, history into the plot. Events that inspired one aspect of the novel can be read here. The Glass Room, Mawer’s most recent novel made it to the Man Booker 2009 shortlist.
One omission from Astill’s list is Mount Everest: The Reconnaissance 1935, his own book about one of Eric Shipton’s often forgotten, but actually quite successful, expeditions to the Himalaya.