Cold Mountain Paperback – 23 Mar 1998
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Charles Frazier's debut novel, Cold Mountain, is the story of a very long walk. In the waning months of the Civil War, a wounded Confederate veteran named Inman gets up from his hospital bed and begins the long journey back to his home in the remote hills of North Carolina. Along the way he meets rogues and outlaws, Good Samaritans and vigilantes, people who help and others who hinder, but through it all Inman's aim is true: his one goal is to return to Cold Mountain and to Ada, the woman he left behind. The object of his affection, meanwhile, has problems of her own. Raised in the rarified air of Charleston society, Ada was brought to the backwoods of Cold Mountain by her father, a preacher who came to the country for his health. Even after her father's death, Ada remains there, partly to wait for Inman, but partly because she senses her destiny lies not in the city but in the North Carolina Blue Ridge.
Cold Mountain is the story of two parallel journeys: Inman's physical trek across the American landscape and Ada's internal odyssey toward an understanding of herself. What makes Frazier's novel so satisfying is the depth of detail surrounding both journeys. Frazier based this story on family history, and in the characters of Inman and Ada he has paid a rich compliment to their historical counterparts. Cold Mountain is, quite simply, a wonderful book.
This recent bestseller deserved all its acclaim. An epic tale of the American Civil War, a soldier's desertion and long trek home to the cold mountain of the title - and of his quest for love and sanctuary. You long for, indeed you pray for, a happy ending (Prue Leith, The Week)
'Cold Mountain is a heartbreakingly beautiful story, elegantly told and utterly convincing down to the last haunting detail'
'Cold Mountain is a superb novel - thrilling, richly detailed and powerful. I was spellbound for two days'
'This is one of the best books I've read in a long time, and I cried when it was over. It's simply a miracle'
'Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain is the most impressive and enthralling first novel I have read in a long time. It is a magnetic story, ambitious in scope, with richly developed characters and beautiful evocations of landscape. Though set in an earlier time, it is contemporary in the profoundest sense, with a resonance of A Farewell to Arms'
'A deeply satisfying novel in the best tradition of narrative fiction'
'Cold Mountain deserves any and all prizes that might be lying around'
'This novel is so magnificent that the shadow of this book, and the joy I received in reading it, will fall over every other book I read'
'Charles Frazier's novel is at once spare and eloquent, a panorama that the author stills long enough to make a portrait - a very evocative portrait of Inman, a soldier who is trying to escape a ruined world. The author is interested in the scope, but also in the paradoxical smallness of war - how war shrinks our thinking and our sense of ourselves, at the same time it causes more obvious devastation. Interspersed with so many moments of sadness, the many moments of compassion seem entirely convincing and are very affecting; when Ada "wanted to tell him how she had come to be what she was", the understatement - as it is so often in Cold Mountain - is almost shattering. And then comes the ending.'
'This novel's landscape is finely drawn, full of dark beauty and presentiment, and so are its characters. They give voice to a classical, peculiarly American feeling of nostalgia - the pain of returning home'
'This is one of the best books I have ever opened, and I closed it with a regret akin to that of taking leave of a close friend... Cold Mountain is as close to a masterpiece as American writing is going to come and when readers find this book, they will love it with a sinewy and undying passion'
Raleigh News and Observer
'Astonishing debut... The pleasure of Frazier's language - forceful and perfectly cadenced to capture the flavour of a long-ago era - is merely a side dish. Inman's trek and Ada's struggle to manage a small mountain farm are told in alternating chapters. As these narratives converge, their yearning for each other grows more intense, and so does our suspense. The genuinely romantic saga of Ada and Inman is a page turner that attains the status of literature'
'Monumental novel... A remarkable effort that opens up a historical past that will enrich readers not only with its story but with its strong characters'
'Rich in evocative physical detail and timeless human insight, this debut novel set in the Civil War era rural South considers themes both grand and intimate'
'Cold Mountain is a prose poem. Frazier delights in unfamilar words, in describing nature in its seasons and the contending forces at work in the human soul'
Country Homes and Interiors
'For a first novelist, in fact for any novelist, Charles Frazier has taken on a daunting task - and has done extraordinarily well by it. In prose filled with grace notes and trenchant asides, he has reset much of the 'Odyssey' in 19th-century America, near the end of the Civil War... A wealth of finely realized supporting characters gives Frazier's novel a subtext of richness and subtlety.... Yet however strongly the side issues resonate, they are never allowed to interfere with the main thrust of the plot. The author's focus is always on Ada and Inman. It is there movement toward each other that 'Cold Mountain is a heartbreakingly beautiful story, elegantly told and utterly convincing down to the last haunting detail'
'Charles Frazier's novel is at once spare and eloquent, a panorama that the author stills long enough to make a portrait - a very evocative portrait of Inman, a soldier who is trying to escape a ruined world. The author is interested in the scope, but also in the paradoxical smallness of war - how war shrinks our thinking and our sense of ourselves, at the same time it causes more obvious devastation. Interspersed with s See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As Inman makes his painful journey, he meets many people, each of which have a story to tell. In the alternate chapters following Ada and Ruby, there are flashbacks. Through the stories and the flashbacks, one gets more and more of the feel of the times. This certainly isn't the glamorized South being depicted.
For those reading this book during the Iraqui war, there is much to think about. Times haven't changed all that much. Apparantly, there were those who felt that the war was being fought for economic reasons, not for moral reasons.
This is no fast read. Rather, it is a book to spend a bit of time with. There's a bit of fancy in it which contrasts with stark and brutal reality.
It's being made into a movie, and it is quite obvious that the producers are looking for a chance to win some Oscars. You don't take a best-selling civil war novel, hire an academy award winning director and acting talent like Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweiger & Jude Law, then set it to open Christmas Day if you're not thinking Oscar. However, the screenwriter has a challenge ahead of him, and if he turns out a script that is reasonably true to the book and yet satisfying as a movie, he will definitely deserve an Oscar.
So the question is should you who are reading my review read this book? Very difficult question. It's not a real easy book. It's not packed with adventure, though there is adventure in it.Read more ›
The story made up of a split narrative between a wounded soldier walking home from the horrors of the American Civil War and a young woman trying to learn the practicalities of self-sufficiency after the death of her father and the loss of her wealth; is the basic framework for a multitude of tales told by characters met on this journey of quest. This makes it reminiscent of Don Quixote and Frazier temporarily provides the main character with a Sancho Panza along the way.
For me it is the power of the female characters that is so pleasing; and the girl Ruby is warm and earthy. She speaks her kindness by her actions and not by her words; and really is the spirit of mother earth, which pervades the whole book. The landscape is feminine and benevolent and the women in it are the channels for that generous spirit.
No one is turned away hungry, no one is left unsheltered. This is a new-age view of landscape and environment; and one that is very cheering.
Frazier’s men are generally a problem. Either they are the hunter or the hunted, the desperate or the dissolute. Death in the form of a character called Teague haunts every forest and byway, he stalks every man in the book. While the women are fonts of comfort and sustenance but above all practical wisdom.Read more ›
The story begins near the end of the Civil War as Inman, a Confederate soldier, recuperates from his wounds and reflects on four years of ferocious fighting. Soon, he realizes that he will be sent back to fight some more. Overcome by that thought, he dreams of home instead. He sneaks out of the hospital through a window and begins a long, difficult trek home.
At the same time, Ada, his love from before the war, has just lost her father in the hill country in the Smokies. Brought up as an educated lady to her minister father in Charleston, she is unprepared to fend for herself. Soon befriended by Ruby, she begins the unremitting toil to get her farm working again without the proper help, resources and training. Those who have read Gone With the Wind will recognize many parallels to Scarlett O'Hara's situation at Tara after her father dies.
The novel interweaves Inman's and Ada's stories as they move towards a reunion on Cold Mountain. Inman is in constant danger as a deserter, and finds the going hard at a time when the local militia units are actively hunting down criminals and deserters. The losses in the war are also causing a general breakdown in civility among Southerners and through depredations from Federal troops. The episodes are reminiscent of the time on the raft in Huckleberry Finn for their raw display of the best and worst qualities of humanity. I was also reminded of Dante's Inferno.
One of the great strengths of the novel is that the ultimate reunion of Ada and Inman is handled in a thoughtful and in many ways, unexpected, manner.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Journeys are a pretty familiar way of exploring the world after the collapse of civilisation (Book of Eli, The Road) and this is just what the American South has come to, the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Stafford Steve
Picked this up at a works book sale and what a bargain. I admit I was attracted to the cover initially but I'm fascinated by the American civil war. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is well-written and portrays well the hardships of the people living during this era. I really enjoyed the book in the end, however it took me at least 80 pages or so to... Read morePublished 23 months ago by heather444