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Thirteen Moons [Hardcover]

Charles Frazier
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Oct 2006
Charles Frazier’s Thirteen Moons is the story of one man’s remarkable life, spanning a century of relentless change. At the age of twelve, an orphan named Will Cooper is given a horse, a key, and a map and is sent on a journey through the wilderness to the edge of the Cherokee Nation, the uncharted white space on the map. Will is a bound boy, obliged to run a remote Indian trading post. As he fulfills his lonesome duty, Will finds a father in Bear, a Cherokee chief, and is adopted by him and his people, developing relationships that ultimately forge Will’s character. All the while, his love of Claire, the enigmatic and captivating charge of volatile and powerful Featherstone, will forever rule Will’s heart.
In a distinct voice filled with both humor and yearning, Will tells of a lifelong search for home, the hunger for fortune and adventure, the rebuilding of a trampled culture, and above all an enduring pursuit of passion. As he comes to realize, “When all else is lost and gone forever, there is yearning. One of the few welcome lessons age teaches is that only desire trumps time."

Will Cooper, in the hands of Charles Frazier, becomes a classic American soul: a man devoted to a place and its people, a woman, and a way of life, all of which are forever just beyond his reach. Thirteen Moons takes us from the uncharted wilderness of an unspoiled continent, across the South, up and down the Mississippi, and to the urban clamor of a raw Washington City. Throughout, Will is swept along as the wild beauty of the nineteenth century gives way to the telephones, automobiles, and encroaching railways of the twentieth. Steeped in history, rich in insight, and filled with moments of sudden beauty, Thirteen Moons is an unforgettable work of fiction by an American master.


PRAISE FOR THIRTEEN MOONS

“Genius.”
–Time

“Gorgeous…Thirteen Moons calls Cold Mountain to mind in its wonder at the natural world; its pacificist undercurrents; its dismay at the dismantling of what matters, and its convication that one love, no matter how tortured and inexplicable, can be life-defining…fascinating…vivid and alive.”
–Newsweek


Thirteen Moons is rare in many ways and occupies a literary plane of such height that reviewing it is not really salient….Thirteen Moons has the power to inspire great performances from succeeding generations of writers….For those who simply value the literary experience, Thirteen Moons will provide the immense satisfaction of taking a literary journey of magnitude. Whether on a plane, in an office or curled in a window seat, readers who absorb Will's story will find their own lives enriched….Thirteen Moons belongs to the ages.”
–Los Angeles Times

Thirteen Moons brings this vanished world thrillingly to life…
One of the great Native American, and American stories, and a great gift to all of us, from one of our very best writers.”
« –Kirkus Reviews, starred review «

“There are things so masterful words can’t do them justice. Frazier’s writing falls in that category…With Thirteen Moons, he’s doing important work fillnig in the gaps, helping restore the roots, of our knowledge of our own history.”
–Asheville Citizen-Times

“Fascinating…Reading Thirteen Moons is an intoxicating experience…This is 21st-century literary fiction at its very best.”
–BookPage

Thirteen Moons is rare in many ways and occupies a literary plane of such height that reviewing it is not really salient….Thirteen Moons has the power to inspire great performances from succeeding generations of writers….For those who simply value the literary experience, Thirteen Moons will provide the immense satisfaction of taking a literary journey of magnitude. Whether on a plane, in an office or curled in a window seat, readers who absorb Will's story will find their own lives enriched….Thirteen Moons belongs to the ages.”
–Los Angeles Times

“Once again, we are in the hands of an assured writer who knows how to bring history to life…Gorgeous.”
–New Orleans Times Picayune

“Magical…the history lesson in Thirteen Moons is fascinating and moving…You will find much to admire and savor in Thirteen Moons.”
–USA Today

“Incredibly powerful.”
Melissa Block on NPR All Things Considered

“Verdict: A powerhouse second act….a brilliant success…Frazier's second act should convince everyone that he's here to stay. It is a powerful, dramatic, often surprising and memorable novel.”
–Atlanta Journal Constitution

Thirteen Moons is a boisterous, confident novel that draws from the epic tradition... Frazier is a natural storyteller, and throughout his picaresque tale are grand themes and eulogies”
–Boston Globe

“Warm hearted…Frazier is a remarkably meticulous and tasteful writer… Thirteen Moons is a worthy successor to the first novel
and a highly readable book.”
–Seattle Times

“Fiction of the highest order…Another indelible character. Charles Frazier has a knack for them.”
–Charlotte Observer

“Splendidly written.”
–New York Daily News

“What a story!... Frazier's creation, Will Cooper, is utterly charismatic….Frazier's genius lies in his ability to convey emotions that feel pure and genuine…It was worth the wait.”
–Dayton Daily News

“To Charles Frazier, words are playthings. Like very few other contemporary American novelists, he puts them together in such a way that they can transform an otherwise mundane moment, scene or conversation into one that is transcendent….No sophomore jinx here. Reading a Frazier novel is like listening to a fine symphony. He's a maestro whose pen is his baton, beckoning the best that each sentence has to offer. And just as you wouldn't rush a conductor, you should take the time to savor Frazier’s work, to take in each thought, to relish the turn of phrase or the imagery of a craftsman.”
–Denver Post

“Two for two…Here is a book brimming with vivid, adventurous incident…Charles Frazier set himself a daunting challenge with this book. He set out to write a historical novel that was retrospective and meditative, yet still vibrant and immediate with life. Thirteen Moons succeeds in classy fashion.”
–Raleigh News & Observer

“If current fiction is anything to go by, it’s hard for a novelist to make Santayana's puzzle pieces - lyricism, comedy, tragedy - fit together, as they do in real life and real history. Frazier has done it…Thirteen Moons makes you feel that change that happened so long before our own time, and makes you mourn it.”
–Newsday

“[Thirteen Moons] is superbly entertaining, and it packs enough emotional heft to measure up to most readers’ high expectations.”
–Richmond Times-Dispatch

Thirteen Moons is a fitting successor to Cold Mountain…fans of Frazier's debut will be cheered to discover that the new book is another compulsively readable work of historical fiction.”
–St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“If there is any doubt that Frazier is an incredibly gifted storyteller - and not just a lucky name or a one-hit wonder - it will be put to rest with the publication of Thirteen Moons. Within 10 pages, this long-awaited new novel bears the reader swiftly out of the waking world into its own imagined universe like nothing else published this year.”
–Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Achingly beautiful descriptions of nature…It’s rich, it’s beautiful.”
–Columbia State

“Forget the sophomore jinx. Frazier demonstrates that Cold Mountain was no one-hit wonder with this fully realized historical novel again set in the South….Again, Frazier shows himself a master of landscape and language, both often fresh and surprising in his telling.
–Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Thirteen Moons contains achingly beautiful passages of snowfalls, fog-wrapped rivers and moonlit forests. There are ribald and hilarious events, too, including a description of the Cherokee Booger Dance that is a masterpiece of satire. The love affair between Cooper and Claire threads its way through this pseudo-historic epic like a brilliant, scarlet ribbon. There is also a melancholy refrain that celebrates a wondrous time and place that is gone and will never return.”
–Smoky Mountain News



“Once again, we are in the hands of an assured writer who knows how to bring history to life…Gorgeous.”
–New Orleans Times Picayune

“Magical…the history lesson in Thirteen Moons is fascinating and moving…You will find much to admire and savor in Thirteen Moons.”
–USA Today

“Verdict: A powerhouse second act….a brilliant success…Frazier's second act should convince everyone that he's here to stay. It is a powerful, dramatic, often surprising and memorable novel.”
–Atlanta Journal Constitution

Thirteen Moons is a boisterous, confident novel that draws from the epic tradition... Frazier is a natural ...

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (NY); First Trade Edition First Printing edition (3 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375509321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375509322
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,788,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'THIRTEEN MOONS brings this vanished world thrillingly alive, retelling the agonizing stories of "the Removal" (of Indians from their ancestral lands) and the lie of "Reconstruction"; creating literally dozens of heart-stopping word pictures . . . building unforgettable characterizations of the sorrow-laden everyman Will . . . One of the great Native American, and American stories, and a great gift to all of us, from one of our very best writers.' (Kirkus Reviews)

'What makes it so appealing is the voice of Will Cooper, which is potent, wry, insightful and utterly convincing. The writing provides a constantly inventive account of the physical world, one that suggests a naturalist's immersion rather than labours of library research. This articulate facility makes Thirteen Moons as rich a fiction as it is an eventful one.' (Andrew Rosenheim, Time Literary Supplement)

'Frazier's second novel is capable of considerable power when it is dramatising a great national trauma.' (Stephen Amidon, The Sunday Times )

'The history that Frazier hauntingly unwinds through Will is as melodic as it is melancholy, but the sublime love story is the narrative's true heart.' (Publishers Weekly)

'Its narrative has a thoroughly human scale and informs just as much as it moves and entertains' (Frank Egerton, The Times )

'THIRTEEN MOONS is a gorgeous book. THIRTEEN MOONS calls COLD MOUNTAIN to mind in its wonder at the natural world; its pacifist undercurrents; its dismay at the dismantling of what matters, and its conviction that one love, no matter how tortured and inexplicable, can be life-defining. The new novel is more ambitious and not always as tightly wound as its predecessor. But its history lessons are more fascinating and various, its prose more vivid and alive.' (Jeff Giles, Newsweek)

'His second novel has landed at the top of the American bestseller lists. It seems well on its way to repeating the success of Cold Mountain. . . the result is a novel whose prose is so carefully wrought that it reads like fragments of a long poem.' (Telegraph)

'The history that Frazier hauntingly unwinds through Will is as melodic as it is melancholy, but the sublime love story is the narrative's true heart.' (Publishers Weekly)

'Frazier's second novel is capable of considerable power when it is dramatising a great national trauma.' (Stephen Amidon, The Sunday Times)

'THIRTEEN MOONS will provide the immense satisfaction of taking a literary journey of magnitude. Whether on a plane, in an office or curled in a window seat, readers who absorb Will's story will find their own lives enriched. THIRTEEN MOONS belongs to the ages.' (LA Times)

'Its narrative has a thoroughly human scale and informs just as much as it moves and entertains' (Frank Egerton, The Times)

Praise for COLD MOUNTAIN: (-)

A remarkable first novel, a romance of love, of friendship, of family, of land. Frazier has inhaled the spirit of the age and breathes it into the reader's being (Erica Wagner, The Times)

'Frazier is a timeless master magician who renders the texture of the landscape, emotion and history excruciatingly real. Every page seems to conceal a universal truth delicately argued.' (Time Out)

'Profoundly moving' (Christina Patterson, Observer)

'It is this meeting of two conflicting ideas of personal and social history that gives Thirteen Moons its great wisdom. . . alive with wonder and adventure. Frazier is a wonderfully sensual writer, with a deep kinship to the damp Appalachian terrain on which he lives. The changing Indian moons of the title are beautifully evoked. . . Frazier is at his most effective as a novelist when he subscribes to the Tolstoyan view of history as a grand old mess.' (Richard Godwin, Literary Review)

Enthralling, written in laconic, lucid prose that is a constant pleasure to read. (Daily Mail)

'It is an ambitious, ranging novel that feels like an $8m read. Frazier has the big storyteller's art. He is a careful chooser of words and in his descriptions has a way of making us look more closely at horses, rocks and water. This is a satisfying armchair novel for those darkening Sunday afternoons. It succeeds through much of its considerable length as one of those books you don't want to end.' (Phil Hogan, Observer)

'most elegantly executed audiobook... Audio intensifies the effect of Frazier's remarkable gift for quirky, conversational prose that has both the rhythm and the intensity of poetry" (The Times)

'Frazier is a timeless master magician who renders the texture of the landscape, emotion and history all excruciatingly real . . . Every page seems to conceal a universal truth delicately argued.' (Time Out) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The epic journey of one man's life, by one of America's most outstanding writers, author of the phenomenally successful COLD MOUNTAIN. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Story. . .A love story 3 Oct 2006
Format:Hardcover
I must qualify my review by saying that cold Mountain was one of my favorite reads of the 1990s and I have patiently been waiting for Mr. Fraizer's sophomore effort. I was thrilled to receive an advance readers copy through a friend in the industry! The great news is "Thirteen Moons" proves the author is more than a one hit wonder. This is historical fiction at its best, as we follow the first person account of the 19th century frontier life of Will Cooper. Ala "Little Big Man" this is a first person account told by an old man at start of a new century, his life a relic of the past. I loved the opening chapter as the 90 year old, cantankerous Will answers his phone, and in the white noise of this modern marvel he can hear the voice of his lost love Claire.

Will Cooper starts out as an orphan who is sold by his relatives to an "antique gentleman" who puts young Will to work at a remote trading post. Here he comes in contact with the great Cherokee Nation. Will's life blossoms and he has great success and terrible failures as a lawyer, a merchant, and even a state senator. Through all of this his bonds with the Cherokees remains strong and central to the story, he even is made a white chief of the nation. Through the structure of Wills life the story of the Cherokee Nation is told. He bears witness to the heartbreaking removal of the people from their land and the tragic "Trail of Tears." Will fights for the confederacy during the Civil War, and meets many of the iconic figures of the times such as Davey Crockett and Andrew Jackson. Through out his life Will is haunted by the memory of his one true love, Claire, a girl he won in a card game when he was 12. (I am reminded of Gus's Clara from "Lonesome Dove"-I guess we all have our Clara?).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective on the Frontier 26 April 2007
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
The Frontier is a central concept in the American experience. While the most progress was usually made in the crowded cities of the East, the new American spirit, psychology, and perspective were born in the Frontier. Few can tell you much about Robert Fulton or Commodore Vanderbilt, but almost everyone can say something accurate about Davy Crockett.

In recent years, it has become popular to take the exalted view of the Frontier and to turn it into post-Modern ordinariness. Some do that with humor. Others do it by patching together wildly improbable events. I applaud those efforts because they bring balance back into something that has become too much of a myth.

Thirteen Moons is another shift in perspective, but one that's a shift aimed at creating a more normal view of the Frontier . . . one that escaped all but a few who actually lived in the Frontier. It's a perspective that views the Native American experience with the same validity and sympathy as the Frontiersmen's experiences. I found that refreshing.

So what's the story? Will Cooper, an orphan, is sold off as a bound apprentice to a trader and is to serve as the head of a trading post at the edge of the then-independent Cherokee Nation. Cooper's contacts are daily with the Native Americans and very rarely with those who resupply him. Not surprisingly, he grows up with a combined perspective that appreciates what "civilization" brings but honors and is uplifted by the real support he receives from Bear, the chief who adopts him into the tribe.

Cooper honors that relationship, even after the tide turns and the American government evicts the Cherokees. What's the plan? Cooper buys up enough of the unwanted high-altitude land to allow Bear's people to have a home without being moved further West.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An American Saga 15 Dec 2007
By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
An American saga. Will Cooper looks back on his life and reflects on his reluctance to accept "modern ways". Will, an orphan at 12, becomes "bound" to a store owner and is sent off from his home to run a trading post in a remote community of Indians (with a few rag-tag white folks) He wins a girl at a card game - and he continually longs for her to be his. Chief Bear adopts him as a member of the Cherokee tribe, he takes part in the Civil War and eventually becomes a member of the senate.

Some brilliant evocative scenes, such as his time in the wilderness trying to survive and find his way to the store and the actual running of the store. His description of how the Indian tribes were forced out of their homelands is particularly harrowing.

The language is a bit flowery in parts but the whole story is told with warmth and affection for a lost world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent trail of a novel 26 Mar 2007
Format:Hardcover
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book as much as this, as much for the writing itself as the story. Normally I am annoyed by literary self-consciousness from a writer but Charles Frazier manages to convey so beautifully, movingly and simply the details of his hero's life, from the major events to mundanities rich with significance. I found myself reading passages over and over again to relish their aching beauty.

It's true that this is not some tightly-plotted story. A very old man looks back on his life; he has lived through a period of tremendous change, and this book is a reflection of the sorrow and inevitability of change we all experience. It is also a book about belonging, unrequited longing, loneliness, and acceptance as well as friendship, purpose and natural wonder. North Carolina, its mountains, water and terrible beauty, is a main character in the book. Frazier's thoughts on the treatment of Indians in 19th century, and their lost wisdom, teaches us a great deal as well. And you come to know and love Will Cooper, its hero, and mourn for him when you leave its pages.

This is a novel to savour and dwell with, not a novel to grip you with tension. But shouldn't there be time in our lives for such savouring? If you read it with this in mind, it might become what it has for me, a novel you can see yourself reading over and over again with something new and affecting embracing you each time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An exploration of love, loss and injustice over the course of one...
Great book giving great insight into the lives of Native American Indians. A good read in the style of a personal memoir.
Published 1 month ago by Hale Stote
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful and melancholy
Very different from Nightwoods, but still a fantastic read and a sad reflection on the price of building America and one man's life
Published 6 months ago by Stephen Watts
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I got this for my partner and he has really enjoyed this book. He says this author excels at portraying an aspect of life in late 19th century America.
Published 18 months ago by Waxwing
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
When I first started writing,an editor advised me that a writer should always "make every word work for its space in the manuscript; making every word count". Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2012 by V. G. Harwood
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT A COLD MOUNTAIN
This life story of Will Cooper told in the first person a la "Little Big Man" starts so well as he looks back on his life from his humorous and yes cantankerous old age. Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2011 by Alexander Bryce
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable
The sublime analagous language of Cold Mountain is here. For this reader, there were at times rather too much of it. Read more
Published on 18 Jun 2010 by Fusionfan
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but not a classic
Not in the same league as Cold Mountain, but enjoyable nonetheless. I got the impression it would probably have been better written as an epic trilogy - the scene was set in the... Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2010 by Fluffy
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous Audio Book
This is a marvellous book. An American saga which is exciting, humorous, beautifully written and altogether . . . something epic. Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2009 by Buzzy
4.0 out of 5 stars a little bit of editing would not have gone amiss
This lacks the emotional depth of Cold Mountain but it is a story well told of Will Cooper, whose own life story he relates while waiting for the trains to go by his house. Read more
Published on 7 Sep 2008 by the scribbler
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in another time
I loved it. I felt I was inside Will's head - I liked his rambles, and I longed for Claire to come back to him, but it wasn't to be and I cried at his loneliness. Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2008 by JillyAnn Roffo
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