Read Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier Online


Cold Mountain is a novel about a soldier’s perilous journey back to his beloved near the Civil War's end. At once a love story & a harrowing account of one man’s long walk home, Cold Mountain introduces a new talent in American literature.Based on local history & family stories passed down by Frazier’s great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a woundedCold Mountain is a novel about a soldier’s perilous journey back to his beloved near the Civil War's end. At once a love story & a harrowing account of one man’s long walk home, Cold Mountain introduces a new talent in American literature.Based on local history & family stories passed down by Frazier’s great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a wounded Confederate soldier, Inman, who walks away from the ravages of the war & back home to his prewar sweetheart, Ada. His odyssey thru the devastated landscape of the soon-to-be-defeated South interweaves with Ada’s struggle to revive her father’s farm, with the help of an intrepid young drifter named Ruby. As their long-separated lives begin to converge at the close of the war, Inman & Ada confront the vastly transformed world they’ve been delivered.Frazier reveals insight into human relations with the land & the dangers of solitude. He also shares with the great 19th century novelists a keen observation of a society undergoing change. Cold Mountain recreates a world gone by that speaks to our time....

Title : Cold Mountain
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780340680599
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 438 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Cold Mountain Reviews

  • Amanda
    2019-01-13 10:51

    Cold Mountain is quite possibly the most beautiful book that I've ever read. It's not for the faint of heart, however, as it's time consuming and requires a great deal of patience as Frazier takes his time with his descriptions of the landscape and the people as Inman, a soldier broken in spirit by the futility and waste of the Civil War, decides to walk home to Ada and his beloved Cold Mountain. That is not to say that Frazier wastes the reader's time or goes off on unnecessary tangents (although for those who like quick narratives, it may seem that way), but he is in no hurry to rush the novel to its conclusion. To have done so would have stripped the novel of its power as it examines the lives of both Inman and Ada, a Southern belle woefully unprepared to exist in the harsh mountain landscape of Cold Mountain when she finds herself all alone. What may seem like lengthy transcendentalist-like descriptions of nature actually serve to reveal the inner life of each character and enrich the narrative.Of the two alternating narratives, I found Inman's the most compelling. His is a Dante-like journey through the "Inferno" of the American South (comparisons could also be made to Homer's The Odyssey). While he time and again encounters people wallowing in depravity and sin in a seemingly lawless world, he also encounters along this hellish journey acts of selflessness and kindness that serve as balm to his soul when he's on the cusp of losing all hope. Ironically, those offering the greatest kindnesses are those who are the most excluded from society (slaves and women). Inman is a man who is capable of violence, but only when necessary. After killing indiscriminately in war, he's determined to do no harm unless it's absolutely unavoidable. It may be because of the violence that is still latent within him that Inman struggles so with the world and his place in it. Of the reviews I've read, most readers disliked the novel's ending. Without giving away any spoilers, I'll only state that I thought the ending was the only possible one offered in a world consumed by war.Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder

  • Luthien
    2019-01-06 10:49

    Considering the widespread acclaim this book and its subsequent film adaptation have received, I'm reluctant to write a negative review. Still, a dissenting opinion at least makes for an interesting read. This was absolutely the most boring book I have ever read. It took me about a year to finish it, because every time I tried to pick it up, day or night, I was asleep in minutes. Though the descriptions of the picturesque mountainous landscape are often beautiful, I fail to see the point. I can't understand why the lovers at the center of the plot even like eachother, and in general I find the characters' motivation for doing anything completely inexplicable. I don't wish to spoil the story (such as it is) for any would be readers, so I'll refrain from posting plot details. Suffice it to say that the entire plot hinges on a series of events that conveniently take place, but seem to have no basis in reality. Why, for example, did the protagonist undertake his long journey in the first place? This is, to my mind, never made adequately clear. Consequently, instead of rooting for the characters, I end up thinking, "What a bunch of morons!"

  • Kevin Ansbro
    2018-12-21 15:53

    "Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier; I have seen worse sights than this."—Homer, The OdysseyHaving recently read The Odyssey, I was prompted by Goodreads friend, @JulieGrippo, to go on this journey - namely, Homer’s epic voyage transposed to the terrain of 19th-century North America.Inman (not as heroic as Odysseus), an army deserter wounded in the American Civil War, faces a treacherous, interminable journey home to his love, Ada (i.e. Odysseus’ Penelope).You can see from my five-star rating that I was captivated by this book, but it could just have easily been demoted to three stars as it was very nearly hoisted by a petard of its own poetic prose.So I’ll just get my two gripes out of the way first, then we can all sit down and have a nice cup of tea…Gripe #1One of my pet peeves is seeing dialogue that isn’t neatly nested between some perfectly respectable speech marks. Why, Charles Frazier? They were evidently good enough for Dickens, Hugo and Dostoyevsky, yet you didn't feel the need, now did you?Yes, the enlightened readers among us can get by without them but, applying the same logic, why even bother with commas and full stops? In fact, let’s go the whole hog and eliminate vowels as well! Huh! Bloody vowels, making words much longer than they need to be!Gripe #2More than most, I drool over a banquet of sumptuous prose. Frazier writes beautifully and songbirds landed on my shoulders while I read, rather like a dreamy scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. All, it seemed, was perfectly spiffing in my world.But holy pretentiousness, Batman! Surely, he didn’t have to pack every blimmin’ paragraph with eminence until each one burst at the seams! The high calibre prose, though meritorious, did quicksand the pace of my read and severely detracted from the narrative thrust of the story. Ahhh, now isn’t it just grand to get things off one’s chest? So, how about that nice cup of tea ... do you take milk and sugar?The story, despite my two gripes, is a towering, modern-day epic worthy of the utmost praise. Evocative and monumental, it carries weighty themes of love, resilience, honour and devotion with great aplomb. Granted, it doesn’t flow like a cold mountain stream, but you won’t often see writing as good as this in our modern age.

  • Will Byrnes
    2019-01-13 09:50

    Did not like it. Although it has an interesting structure and pretext, it is so intellectualized that it is hard to care about the characters at all. It seems like Frazier is more interested in showing off than in writing a gripping work of fiction.

  • Algernon
    2019-01-03 15:47

    The best way I could find to describe the book is the American Civil War version of the Odyssey, with Inman as the wandering hero trying to find his way back home to the North Carolina Appallachians, and Ada as his Penelope tending the home fires. This is an oversimplification, but the epic scope is there, the perilous journey, the oddball characters met on the road, the mystical elements of prophecy, cursed fate, faithful love. Additional major themes tackled are the brutality and senselessness of war, women emancipation, Native American (Cherokee) Trail of Tears, music as soul healer and the majesty of nature. ... he had seen the metal face of the age and had been so stunned by it that when he thought into the future, all he could vision was a world from which everything he counted important had been banished or had willingly fled. Inman is a young man born and raised in the high country, at the foot of Cold Mountain, the highest peak in this scarcely populated corner of North Carolina. He goes to war not out of any patriotic fervor or deep seated political convictions, but in search of adventure and excitement. The four years in the trenches cure him of any romantic feelings about organized killing, leaving him sorely wounded and spiritually crushed: Anyone could be oracle for the random ways things fall against each other. It was simple enough to tell fortunes if a man dedicated himself to the idea that the future will inevitably be worse than the past and that time is a path leading nowhere but a place of deep and persistent threat. The way Inman saw it, if a thing like Fredericksburg was to be used as a marker of current position, then many years hence, at the rate we're going, we'll be eating one another raw. His one comfort in the long bed ridden hospital weeks is a travel book describing the mountains back home, a Bartram guide that will accompany him on all his travels once he decides to turn his back on the war and walk back home. As a deserter he is forced to hide during the day and walk only by night, stealing what scarce food he could find. Local militias are combing the territory looking for his ilk, and more than once Inman is forced to fight his way free. The destruction of his character is visible most of all in the way he is still living in a world where the options are "kill or be killed", always ready to solve his problems at gunpoint. Inman is no angel of peace, making his separate peace and searching for redemption. He is still very much a professional killer, a desperado who will let nothing stand in his way, a PTSD victim that belongs in a hospital rather than roaming free."You will be living fitfully. Your soul will fade to blue, the color of despair. Your spirit will wane and dwindle away, never to reappear. Your path lies toward the Nightland. This is your path. There is no other."is the refrain of a Cherokee curse that marks every step Inman takes.Yet, glimpses of his former character resurface in the way he takes the part of the less fortunate than himself, usually women in distress (like Sara - a teenage war widow with a small child and a pig: "There was nothing about her story remarkable other than that it was her life."). As he leaves the lower lands and comes closer to the high hills, Inman's struggles become more desperate due to lack of food and exhaustion, yet his spirit becomes free of his flesh and soars: God, if I could sprout wings and fly, I would be gone from this place, my great wings bearing me up and out, long feathers hissing in the wind. The world would unfurl below me like a bright picture on a scroll of paper and there would be nothing holding me to ground. The watercourses and hills passing under me effortless and simple. And me just rising and rising till I was but a dark speck on the clear sky. Gone on elsewhere. To live among the tree limbs and cliff rocks. Elements of humanity might come now and again like emissaries to draw me back to the society of people. Unsuccesful every time. Fly off to some high ridge and perch, observing the bright light of common day. Inman chapters in the book alternate with the story of Ada Monroe. Ada is a preacher's daughter from Charleston, who moved to the mountains hoping her father's illness (tuberculosis?) wil improve. When he dies, she is left alone on the farm they bought, utterly helpless to fend for herself, ( Monroe tried to keep her a child and, with litle resistance from her, he had largely succeeded.). She is a poster child of the Victorian morals and fetish for women as delicate and useless hothouse flowers. Some readers might find her part of the novel boring, but for me it was as compelling as the journey of Inman. Ada too is enchanted by the beauty of the mountains and is interested in all the forms of life around her - initially in an aestethic way through watercolours and journal entries, later through the healthy sweat of her labours and the satisfaction of doing things with your own hand. Ada is helped along by Ruby, a local girl who learned very early to fend for herself when she was abandoned by her drunken father Stobrod. Not even Ada's farm is safe from the ravages of war. Refugees from places sacked by the Northern Army pass through, local militias make their own law burning and pillaging. The most reprehensible thing in the whole book is this description of the total war concept, where you set out to destroy non military targets in order to demoralize your adversary. Unfortunately the tactichas become the norm in modern times where nothing is considered civilian anymore.A third storyline is introduced later in the novel, but it was one of my favorites, given my own passion for blues music. Initially Ruby's father Stobrod is presented as a lowlife rascal, but years away in the war have changed him in unexpected ways. His salvation comes through music: One thing he discovered with a great deal of astonishment was that music held more for him than just pleasure. There was meat to it. The groupings of sounds, their forms in the air as they rang out and faded, said something comforting to him about the rule of creation. What the music said was that there is a right way for things to be ordered so that life might not always be just tangle and drift but have a shape, an aim. It was a powerful argument against the notion that things just happen.I will stop here in order to not spoil the ending of the novel, as the paths of Inman and Ada converge, although many are probably familiar with it from the movie version. I liked the book better, especially as I thought the movie insisted too much on Ada and Ruby and not enough on Inman and his troubles on the road. Yet it was a faithful adaptation, and moreover it was filmed around my usual mountain weekend haunts in the Southern Carpathians arc, a lovely country, rugged in places, rolling hills over the next horizon, huge forests and welcoming locals. The descriptions of the Appalachians felt more than usually familiar and appealing: The track was ill used, so coiled and knotted he could not say what its general tendency was. It aimed nowhere certain but up. The brush and bracken grew thick in the footway, and the ground seemed to be healing over, so that in some near future the way would not even remain as scar. For several miles it mostly wound its way through a forest of immense hemlocks, and the fog lay among them so thick that heir green boughs were hidden. Only the black trunks were visible, rising into the low sky like old menhirs stood up by a forgotten race to memorialize the darker events of their history. I did have some minor issues with the book, mostly about the slow pacing and the surprising literacy of Inman given his modest origins, but the superb prose of Frasier more than made up for it. Just don't expect a fast paced adventure, and you might have a very rewarding read on your hands. Highly recommended for lovers of Nature and introspective historical fiction. I'll end with a Wordsworth quote Ada uses in the book to describe the mountains: Earth has not anything to show more fair. Dull would be the soul who could pass by a sight so touching in its majesty. link to a gallery of my mountain photos:mountain views

  • Julio Genao
    2019-01-02 15:55

    i nearly plucked my own eyes from my skull in frustration.the dullity was like another character in the story, grimly tugging at my sleeve to expound at length on the state of his bunion, and what it meant in relation to the larger struggle of humanity to achieve some fool thing or another.very, very slowly.

  • Heidi
    2018-12-22 09:43

    You've probably seen the movie made from this book.It was a fine movie. It won Oscars.But it cannot begin to capture the truly spectacular parts of this story because they are not the surface level narratives that make it onto the big screen.Before you can truly appreciate the quality of this book, you need to be familiar with at least Homer's Odyssey, Dante's Inferno, and parts of the Bible. You need to be on guard for a depth of symbolism and complexity of foreshadowing and allusion that will boggle your mind.I always knew the movie didn't really get the book, but when my dad (who has not read the book) referred to it as "a chick flick" because he thought of it primarily as a love story (which it is, but not that kind), then I really realized what one misses when one has not read the book.

  • Cecily
    2018-12-20 12:51

    How long would you wait for your lover, if you knew not whether they were alive, and you yourself had changed almost beyond recognition? This is a beautiful, understated, unsentimental Odyssey of quiet longing, endurance, and transformation."This journey will be the axle of my life."Inman's journey is across hundreds of dangerous miles, fleeing war and trying to get to where his love lives, four years after they parted. "She had made her way to a place where an entirely other order prevailed from what she had always known."Ada's journey takes place within a few miles of her home. It's no coincidence that Inman's treasured book is a travel book (whereas Ruby "held a deep distrust of travel", even to the shops). Times are tough, but at least Ada and Inman have confidence in who and what it is they yearn for. StructureMost of the novel alternates between Ada’s and Inman's separate struggles to survive, with backstory gradually provided by their reminiscences. Each of Inman's chapters involves a dramatic encounter, good or bad, that sheds light on his character, as well as the trials of war and wilderness. Ada is 26, orphaned, nearly destitute, and trying to cope with a little land, but no staff or skill. The varying tempo works well.Both Inman and Ada cultivate the art of really seeing: Inman is ever watchful, noticing every little sign in nature or people's behaviour that may signal danger (a shadow behind leaves, a blade hidden in a hairdo); Ada learns to see the signs of seasons, weather, harvest, birds, and animals.The language is sometimes a little archaic, as it should be. Quotation marks are not used, but I didn't really feel their absence: dialog is usually prefaced with a long dash.Civil WarAlthough the backdrop is the American civil war, I didn't feel hampered by my relative lack of knowledge of US history. There was enough background detail to picture daily life, but the politics and the war were external to the characters, and hence to me as a reader.Right and Wrong; Revenge and ForgivenessInman is a deserter: badly injured, but a deserter none-the-less. He was never a natural killer, is haunted by what he's seen (and done), and doesn't believe in the cause anyway, if he ever did. There are gangs wanting bounty for finding deserters, and desperate men who will kill for any reason and none. Coupled with his inherently peaceful and forgiving nature, repeatedly put to the test, the risks are great. Pondering the story of a man born blind, Inman asks himself "What would be the cost of not having an enemy? Who could you strike for retribution other than yourself?"But retribution isn't really his mindset; he's almost too good to be true, given the hardships and dangers he faces, such as stealing food, but leaving more money than it's worth, putting himself in grave danger to help strangers,and avoiding and preventing violence, even when it's not really his responsibility and would be easier to walk away. He's certainly more forgiving than the disgraced preacher, Veasey.The Sustenance of Literature - and MusicAn unexpected pleasure was the underlying thread of the solace to be found in books. On the very first page, Inman is in military hospital "settling his mind" with a treasured copy of Travels of William Bartram. Throughout the story, he returns to this book, in small snippets, at times of need. (view spoiler)[When he's reunited with Ada, he reads her an extract. (hide spoiler)]Ada's relationship with books fluctuates: at her lowest point "the characters seemed to lead fuller lives than she did", and when she's first dragooned into hard labour to make the land viable, she drops the habit of keeping a book in her pocket. However, at the end of the day, reading aloud is a pleasure and a bonding experience for her and Ruby. We glimpse the privilege of opening someone's eyes to the joys of powerful stories. Another, seemingly irredeemable, character finds salvation in music, starting off with a handful of standard fiddle tunes, but making his own instruments and composing a large repertoire of moving pieces. "The grouping of sounds... said something comforting to him about the rule of creation,... a powerful argument against the notion that things just happen."CouplesAt least as important as the relationship between Ada and Inman, and possibly more interesting, is that between Ada (educated, city girl, now alone in the country) and Ruby (an illiterate who was an almost feral child). She comes to help Ada, not quite as a servant, not - initially - as a friend, let alone equal, but Ruby takes charge of instructing in the sense of educating Ada and even telling her what, when, and how to do. "To Ada, Ruby's monologues seemed composed mainly of verbs, all of them tiring" and "Ruby made a point of refusing to tackle all the unpleasant tasks herself." Ada puts up with this because she realises that "Ruby would not let her fail", whereas a hired hand might just walk away. There are moments when (view spoiler)[you wonder how far Ada and Ruby's friendship will go: when Ruby puts Ada's bracelet on her own wrist - but then puts it back again; when Ada slips a ring on Ruby's finger - which Ruby takes off. The latter is just after Inman has returned, and Ruby has said "We can do without him... There's not a thing we can't do ourselves." But when she realises Ada loves Inman, she backtracks completely, and tactfully contrives to leave them alone. (hide spoiler)].Inman draws strength from his devotion to and memories of Ada. He occasionally looks at other women (water is a recurring theme), but it's all very chaste. (view spoiler)[Even when the young widow who's just lost her child, asks him to share her bed without touching, nothing happened nor did he really want it to. (hide spoiler)]Then there's Ruby's estranged, good-for-nothing father, Stobrod, and Ada's role in handling and healing their relationship.Nature NamesThere is mythical power in names. Ada's education was academic and theoretical: she knows the names of almost none of the plants and animals, and that is part of her helplessness in her new situation. In contrast, Ruby has an encyclopaedic knowledge of such things, and thus she takes the lead in survival. Ruby is also guided by signs that Ada's preacher father, Monroe, would have dismissed as superstition. Ada "chose to view the signs as metaphoric... a way of being alert" so that "she could honor them". But a hundred pages later, she writes to her cousin in Charleston about how field work has changed her, "Should a crow fly over I mark it in all its details, but I do not seek analogy for its blackness... I suspect it is somehow akin to contentment." It's worth noting that the first chapter is titled "the shadow of a crow" and the last "spirits of crows, dancing".The Ending and the EpilogueTwenty pages from the end, it was so tender and understated and perfect that I had to pause. I was sure it would end badly, and I couldn't bear it.(view spoiler)[The reunion of Ada and Inman is wonderfully, but unsentimentally, done. He finds her, dressed like a man, hunting turkeys, rather than in the fine skirts he'd remembered. She doesn't recognise him, so he apologies and walks away. When she does recognise him (by his voice), there are no dramas, just tentative steps towards an unknown present and even less certain future. "No previous formula of etiquette seemed to apply." Even when left alone, they're unsure what to do - so Inman reads a passage from Bartram... and then does the washing up! But eventually they talk, "to rewrite even a shard of the past" as lover do "before they can move forward paired". Eventually, "The world was such a lonely place, and to lie down beside him, skin to skin, seemed the only cure."Then they plan their future. "Their whole lives stretched ahead of them" but also "youth was about over for them and what lay ahead was another country entirely, wherein the possibilities narrowed down moment by moment." It's all too good to be last. Inman is shot by Teague's gang. Ada gets to him in time to hold him as he dies.This is a horrible symmetry with much earlier mention of what happened to Ada's own parents, who met and loved when young, were separated for years, and joyfully reunited, but only very briefly, before one of them died.The epilogue compensates for the tragedy of Inman's death by showing Ada and her daughter living happily with Ruby, Ruby's husband, their children, and Ruby's reformed father. However, without that, the final scene would be touching and, slightly ambiguous, which I think I prefer. (hide spoiler)]Reminds me Of(The links are to my reviews of these books.)The quiet stoicism, solace in literature, and connection to the soil, reminded me of one of my two favourite books, Stoner.The almost literal saving power of books in the midst of turmoil and deprivation is something Jeanette Winterson stresses in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?.The harsh beauty of the mountains, coupled with love and longing, reminded me a little of Brokeback Mountain. The similarity of title may be a factor, too.Quotes* "The first smear of foggy dawn and [he] waited for the world to begin shaping outside."* "Nature... sometimes calls attention to its specific features and recommends them for interpretation."* "Educated beyond the point considered wise for females" but "impractically for the demands of an exposed life".* "Though not a childless couple, they had retained an air of romance in their marriage, as the barren often do."* "The foul country... was vague and ominous in the moonlight."* "He would like to love the world as it was... Hate took no effort other than to look about."* "When it became too dark to read and the air turned blue and started to congeal with mist."* "Celebration had been a lacking feature of her life since survival had such a sharp way of focusing one's attention elsewhere."* "She had lived so long as to have achieved a state of near transparency."* Gypsies had "a fine honesty in their predatory relationship with the rest of mankind." I know what he means, but...* "Dying there seemed easier than not... Inman had seen so much death it had come to seem a random thing... it no longer seemed dark and mysterious. He feared... he might never make a civilian."* "The easement of maiden, spinster, widow", though if your knowledge of anatomy is "to a degree hypothetical", your fantasies may focus on fingers, wrists and forearms.* A path "so coiled and knotted he could not say what its general tendency was... He felt fuddled and wayless."* "Marrying a woman for her beauty makes no more sense than eating a bird for its singing."* "The pain settled to a distant noise, like living by a river."* In a dead man's clothes "he felt he had donned the husk of another life... as a ghost must, occupying the shape of the past to little effect."* "A suggestion of trees as in a quick sketch, a casual gesture toward the form of trees... as if there were no such thing as landscape."* "The sentimentality of finding poignancy in the fall of leaves, of seeing it as the conclusion to the year and therefore metaphoric."UPDATE re the FilmIf you love this book, or think you may read and love it in the future, avoid the the 2003 film starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renée Zellweger. It's not that it's an awful film (though the acting, accents, and very fake-looking snow and scenery are pretty poor), and it's not the many (very many) tweaks they made to the plot (some are inevitable with any adaptation from one medium to another). No, the problem is that it seems to miss the entire point and atmosphere of the book. By a long, long way. There are some gory battle scenes, but in general, it's a sunny romance. The sun is shining far too much of the time, even in Inman's dangerous travels, most of the hardship is soft-focus, the power of the landscape is mostly missing, and the power of books is sidelined. Inman's Bartram is important, but only because, in the film, it was Ada's parting gift, so it's a memento from a lover, rather than something separate, but more profound.

  • Amanda
    2018-12-17 15:02

    Stunning! This book is the perfect example of timing being everything. I tried to read this book when it was first released and I don't think I got passed the first 25 pages. I tried again after I saw the movie with the same outcome. Fast forward to 2016, the book obviously hasns't changed but I am a completely different reader and I LOVED this book. I'm pretty generous with 5 star reviews but I don't add many books to my favorites shelf which is where this one ended up. It is a slow burn and you have to be patient and take your time but the reward is so worth it. The story is beautiful and haunting and I am so glad that I kept trying and finally found the right time to read this.

  • Ali
    2019-01-09 07:50

    Is it long? Yes. Does it sometimes take entire paragraphs or chapters to describe the scope of the landscape? Yes. Is it entirely worth it? Yes. This book is best described as an epic...for those that felt it was too long or boring, have you ever read The Odyssey? The comparison is made for a reason. This is not a book you take to the beach and read on vacation...this is a book you pick up on a rainy day when you call in sick in the middle of the week. This is a book that becomes like a return to an old friend when you reaquaint yourself with it. This is a book that took me close to a year to read as well, because I chose to walk away from it for a month sometimes and return to it when I needed a moment to escape from current times. I never saw myself falling in love with a Civil-War era book about a soldier, and maybe it was the love story or maybe it was because I am from the area in the book that is described with such fervor and passion and affection for the land I grew up in that it brings a bit of nostalgia for my childhood back when I pick it up. In any case, it is a masterpiece. After finishing it, I sighed with bittersweet feelings. Bittersweet because I assumed Frazier had waited so long to write because he had one true novel in him, and his debut would be his only book. Boy was I wrong. I'm now reading Thirteen Moons. I bought it in June and am just short of halfway through. I am cherishing this one, too!Sidenote: If you haven't read the book, I guess the movie is ok. If you have read it, don't bother watching the movie. It will ruin the image in your head. Also, I hate that it was filmed in Europe when the book takes place here.

  • John
    2019-01-02 15:58

    This book far exceeded my expectations. It was grim and beautiful. It's a historical novel that brings you to the time and place with such an easy awkward passages setting the stage, just outstanding storytelling. The characters are well developed and authentic in their complexity. Also, it rang true with my experience of life, meaning that not everything ended satisfyingly for the characters. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

  • G
    2018-12-25 10:52

    This is in my estimation one of the masterpieces of American fiction. I am surprised to be saying this, because I read it after I'd seen the film, and my expectations were not particularly high. Cold Mountain is the Odyssey retold in many respects not the least of which is its depiction of the horrors of violent expeditions far from home and the yet worse horrors of violence at home. It is a story of the Civil War as it affected those who were marginal to the state and had least to gain from the war, the hard-scrabble farmers of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The assessments of war as benefiting only the wealthy and as a virus carrying violence into every pore of the social world are powerful ones. A beautifully written work of fiction, in everything from the finely honed descriptions of the topography and botany and zoology of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the lovingly detailed descriptions of the preparation of Appalachian food to the brilliant evocations of loss and loneliness and resilience of those caught up directly in the violence of war as well as those who wait for them to come home.

  • Tyler
    2019-01-17 13:53

    I really shouldn't like this book as much as I do. A historical romance? Come on. Frazier's prose is in the tradition of that poetic backwoods style that you might find in some Faulkner or in the films of Terrence Malick and David Gordon Green. Definitely the product of a learned man trying to sound like he's from the sticks, equal parts Old Testament fire-and-brimstone and rootsy colloquialism. His story is ambitious in its attempts to convey feelings of the grandeur of America, smouldering passions that impossible distances can't dull, and the world-weariness felt by every generation as soon as it realized the scope of evil in humanity. And, honestly, he pulls it off. Yes, this is kind of crowd-pleasing fiction, but it's one of the best things to wind up on any kind of bestseller list in recent years. Sometimes you need to read something like this. Maybe.

  • J.K. Grice
    2019-01-01 10:55

    This is a superb chronicle of a wayward soldier seeking escape from the Civil War. Frazier masterfully evokes the time period through his vivid prose of characters and the natural environment. The journey of Inman and this beautiful book still dwell in my thoughts 16 years later.

  • Carol Storm
    2019-01-07 09:53

    It's Gone With The Wind Meets Easy Rider -- with all the phoniest elements of both American classics!All the old Southern lies are here, chillun. Slavery wasn't so bad. We weren't fighting for slavery. The war was not our fault. Slavery was not our fault. Nothing is ever anyone's fault, except for the damned meddling Yankees who started the war for no reason at all! We are all prisoners of history. We know our darkies . . . and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!But at the same time there are plenty of groovy new lies, too. And the new lies are custom-made for an aging baby-boom generation that never quite outgrew its own monumental self-pity. Can you dig it? Here's Billy Pilgrim -- I mean, here's Inman, the dope-addled draft dodger, running from the Man. He's groovy, vacant, passive, and profoundly self-involved. He's not sexy Rhett Butler, oh no! He's empty-eyed Peter Fonda, on the road like Kerouac, looking for America and not finding it anywhere. My heart bleeds. Or not. I didn't like this book very much. But Abraham Lincoln gave it a really scathing review. "Those who deny freedom to others, do not deserve it for themselves. And under a just God, cannot long maintain it."

  • Kristen
    2019-01-08 10:48

    Just loved this book. I always enjoy books that do a good job of creating atmosphere through descriptive writing. This book is one of the best of that sort. The story itself is enjoyable, but what I liked even more was the detailed description of life in the civil war era. We have the idea from many movies and books that the south in the Civil War was all plantations and cotton, lovely ladies and dashing gentlemen. This south is something that Margaret Mitchell simply did not acknowledge, and it is probably much more true to what the majority if southerners lives were like during the time. My one complaint is that you do wonder why Inman and Ada were so drawn to each other. They don't have much of a relationship before he leaves, but they do seem very much devoted to each other. My assumption is that perhaps relationships were just much different in that time period. People didn't "date" for a year, then live together for two years, and then maybe, just maybe, decide to get married. People courted, then decided fairly quickly whether their intended would make a satisfactory marriage partner. There was more to it than mere love - financial and physical survival were much more a part of the equation.Particular highlights to me in the book were the time he spent with the "goat lady" on the mountain, and the sad plight of the girl whose husband is dead, baby is sick, and livestock are almost gone.I have to say something about the movie. I saw it before I read the book, and I enjoyed both, but for entirely different reasons. I enjoyed the movie mostly as a star-crossed love story. The book I enjoyed for it's descriptive narrative as much as for the story.

  • Rosamund
    2018-12-29 07:43

    What an absolute abomination. The only thing that saves this from the doom of getting just one star is... well, at present I am even unable to think of that. Actually, I did laugh when Ada got attacked by a rooster. The books lacks a real story, is over-long, and whoever gave Mr Frazier a thesaurus should seriously reconsider their actions, because the excessive descriptions cause the reader to lose the will to live. Moreover: why, oh why, is it compared to The Odyssey? I fail to see how anyone could categorise this as "literature". (I haven't seen the film; but maybe it could revive some interest. I can't help but feel it would be terribly "Gone With The Wind"-esque, though.FURTHER COMMENT, MADE ON 21ST AUGUST 2008: "I got an A on my exam for this! HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!!"

  • Alison
    2019-01-08 07:53

    Charles Frazier's 1998 National Book Award winning novel, Cold Mountain, is sort of a love story. After barely having time to strike up a romance, North Carolina farmboy Inman is sent off to fight in the Amerian Civil War, leaving high society Charleston-bred Ada at home with a father who soon dies, forcing her to run their large farm and fend for herself in a world previously ignored by her as she focused on her literature, art, and music.Their stories are told in alternating chapters. In one chapter we read of Inman's Homeric trek, wounded in the neck, from a North Carolina hospital back to Cold Mountain where Ada dwells, wondering along the way if she'll even have him, and encountering a wild mix of characters and grim situations. The next chapter and it's back to Ada on the farm as she has enlisted the help of Ruby, a wild young lady, knowledgeable in the art of survival who has agreed to come on board with Ada and her farm at Black Cove.Cold Mountain in an odd way, reminded me of another novel I read recently called "Blindness." Because, ultimately, Cold Mountain is not about love, romance, family, or hope. Rather it's about war and the chaos, ruin, and abscence of hope that it leaves in its path. But Inman now guessed it was boredom with the repetition of the daily rounds that had made them take up weapons. The endless arc of the sun, the wheel of seasons. War took a man out of that circle of regular life and made a season of its own, not much dependent on anything else. He had not been immune to its pull. But sooner or later you get awful tired and just plain sick of watching people killing one another for every kind of reason at all, using whatever implementents fall to hand. So that morning he had looked at the berries and the birds and had felt cheered by them, happy that they had waited for him to come to his senses, even though he feared himself deeply at variance with such elements of the harmonious.So what happens to people when the normal rules of society, of living are suspended? What happens when "thou shalt not kill" and "do unto others...", not to mention the simpler limits of good manners and social etiquette are temporarily thrown out the window? When men become no longer in tune with nature and the friendly order of things, but take it among themselves to make their own rules, buck the system, and the natural peaceful order of living?Well, lots of bad stuff happens, as it does in Cold Mountain. But despite Inman's lack of hope or vision of anything good yet to come in the prescence of overwhelming pain, death, and despair...there is good to come. Resolve is strengthened, unlikely alliances are forged, and without rigid laws of society, people are able to trust themselves, to act and love more freely. Characters are stripped down of habits of over-analysis and come to depend on their raw skills of physical strength and self-reliance to keep themselves alive--to to keep love, and life alive. Some people have called Inman's encounters boring, and although there were some tedious moments, when viewed as a whole, I appreciated the details. Anyone who's seen the movie knows the ending--haunting, powerful, and actually quiet, subtle, and more tastefully done in the book. I was definetely moved to tears. This story, these charactes, they just resonate....

  • Mike
    2019-01-17 15:00

    There are so many good reviews on this book. Links to some of my favorites at the bottom. There are also a number of reviewers who were bored silly and rated this one low. Cold Mountain is forever 5 Stars for me. The language was magical and captivating, the characters vivid, the South of the late Civil War ominous yet, in places, inviting. This is a book I can read many times. Inman, the wounded Confederate soldier has released himself from further fighting and is walking back to Cold Mountain. Ada, the sheltered Charleston debutante, has to learn to survive on her dead father’s farm. Each of their journeys will take time and Frasier gives them the time in telling the story. The pages flew by as I lost myself in learning to survive at Black Cove or trekking through the Blue Ridge mountains. At its’ most basic, this is a story of a soldier leaving the horrors of war in search of his one love and a woman’s journey from dependent to independent. Yet there is so much more here. I loved every page and only regret it took me so long to pull this one off the shelf. This one makes my list of 10 books to have on a desert island.Read these to really appreciate how good this book is:

  • Erin
    2018-12-22 09:05

    The best experience I ever had reading a book. I recommend reading it in the winter, but whatever. The winter I read it was the coldest & saddest winter I have ever experienced. The book, taking place in the late 1800's, reminded me that some things cannot ever change with the times: Struggle. Heartbreak. Love. Adversity. Fear. Uncertainty. The human inclination to survive. To name a few. That said, though, this was not a depressing book. Somehow, it gave me an unexpected and strange kind of faith in myself, and perhaps, in the universe in general. Also, Charles Frazier is the only writer who has ever made me attracted to him without meeting him or seeing him. That's saying a lot, in my book.

  • Cher
    2019-01-17 10:52

    3.5 stars - It was really good.Much like on the movie screen, Ruby's character stole every scene in the book. I enjoyed how her characterization was so vivid and memorable and also appreciated the great atmospheric quality this novel held.Normally the author narrating their own book really adds an extra spark to the story, but in this case, I wish the publisher would have utilized a professional narrator. Had I read this one traditionally instead of listening to it, it may have resulted in a higher rating. The author reads in a very rhythmic, monotonous tone that is unwavering regardless of what is currently developing in the plot, and detracts from the story. I look forward to reading other books by this author, particularly Nightwoods. I'd recommend this one as well, but skip the audiobook.-------------------------------------------Favorite Quote: As was true of all human effort, there was never advancement. Everything added meant something lost, and about as often as not the thing lost was preferable to the thing gained, so that over time we'd be lucky if we just broke even. Any thought otherwise was empty pride.First Sentence: At the first gesture of morning, flies began stirring.

  • Kiwi Begs2Differ✎
    2018-12-31 10:50

    Melancholic, bleak and stunningly violent, the book narrates many stories of bitter souls living grim lives and towards the end(view spoiler)[one of the most moving and tender love scene (hide spoiler)]. Frazier’s beautiful prose gives the reader a perfect sense of place and time. I loved this book!Favourite quotes:The woman looked as if she thought Inman spoke the greatest foolishness she had ever heard. She pointed her pipe stem at him and said, You listen. Marrying a woman for her beauty makes no more sense than eating a bird for its singing. But it's a common mistake nonetheless.In his experience, great wounds sometimes healed, small sometimes festered. Any wound might heal on the skin side but keep on burrowing inward to a man's core until it ate him up. The why of it, like much in life, offered little access to logic.And then she thought that you went on living one day after another, and in time you were somebody else, your previous self only like a close relative, a sister or brother, with whom you shared a past. But a different person, a separate life.Cold Mountain was a mottle of color rising behind the house. It changed day by day, and if you watched closely you could follow the color as it overtook the green and came down the mountain and spread into the cove like a wave breaking over you slowly.

  • Cathy
    2019-01-11 09:53

    When I was thinking of what to say about The Namesake, which I liked alot, I started thinking that maybe we need an asterisk for books that are truly special to us, that knock our socks off. I know that one reason why some books do that has to do with a certain time in our lives. Books that did that to me in the past, like the Alexandria Quartet, I haven't looked at again since I was in my 20's. Others I return to again and again. Cold Mountain is one of those. (Along with Bel Canto, The Fountain Overflows, and The Golden Compass) This is probably my third reading of Cold Mountain, and seemed a logical extension of our spring break trip to the Smokies. We were there, or nearly so. Reading it after having been in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I felt that I could see what Charles Frazier was describing, where before I could see only the characters and their growth. I know that a book will be important to me when I start to slow down as I get close to the end. I just don't want to say goodbye to these people.

  • K.M. Weiland
    2019-01-01 15:55

    Sometimes I start reading a book after seeing a movie I liked and wonder, “Why am I doing this?” Too often, if I like the book or the movie, experiencing the other medium is, at best, a disappointment. Not so here. The movie pales by far in comparison to the lush atmosphere of the book. There’s not a great deal in the way of plot, but there is a tremendously immersive and poetic recreation of life behind the lines in the American Civil War. The romance at the story’s heart isn’t the overweening “true love with see us through” from the movie. Here, it’s more low-key, more realistic, and somehow all the more poignant for its understatement. I would call the ending heartbreaking, except it’s entirely too beautiful for that.

  • Arun Divakar
    2018-12-25 12:05

    Nature has always occupied the top slot in my sense of aesthetics. The sun shining down on the foliage, a sky overcast with clouds with a breeze blowing all the while, the morning orchestra of birds & insects and many more such sights & sounds have in them the power to make me fall in love with nature again & again. This book proved special to me for this same reason for it was a long love letter to nature. Written in the back drop of the American Civil War and taking its cues from Homer's epic of one man's journey back to his lady love isCold Mountain . It is Charles Frazier's long walk along the American landscape of the 1800's with one arm draped around the waist of that lascivious maiden called nature.You are on a horse which walks at a slow trot along the strikingly beautiful American geography before industrialization could take its roots. The civil war is raging on and there is violence all around. The villages and little towns and devoid of men and teenagers and deserters are treated like vermin. But among this savagery and brutality nature still retains its appeal. Frazier's writing is such that you can mark each point in the landscape, each bird and tree and even the richness of the soil at places. I thoroughly enjoyed the vistas of nature described in this book or to be more open I can say I fell in love with them.A cold, rainy day. You have had a long walk and you are splattered head to toe in mud and drenched to the skin. From amidst the haze of the rain, you discover a wayside inn where there is a shortage of rooms but they happen to find you a little space. After a long warm bath and a stomach full of grub you are led to a space atop the stables. Here you get a bed of hay to sleep in while from below the warmth of the horses wafts up. You curl up on the hay and sleep comes like a blessing. I don't know about you but I would call this blissful. This is just one of those scenes that the book has created and there are many such others. It is not always such descriptions of nature that build up the meat of this book but nature is the skeleton and the meat is mankind's behavior for this tale. Death's presence in this tale is like a traveller who walks with you all through your wanderings and then with a sense of finality remind you that the sand in the hourglass has run out !While I loved the writing and the content in the book, the plot is very much common place. There are a lot of common threads that can be picked out from the tale of Odysseus and Penelope and Frazier makes them gel into his tale. I read a review on the site where someone called the characters a bunch of morons who even when the book has ended has done nothing of note. From a prosaic view point, this is absolutely true but pragmatism rarely figures in my reading sensibilities when I am enamored with the writing. I did keep the plot and the characters aside and travelled on horseback through a lot of places which will not vanish from my mind any time soon. The characters kept talking but I rarely listened to them ! There is the character of a goatwoman in the story. Someone way past middle age living like a hermit in the mountains in a caravan surrounded by goats. A cabin piled full of books and herbs with nothing but a straw pallet to sleep on. There are but the mountains, ravens and the goats to keep you company. There could pass decades between you seeing another human being. I must say that like Murakami's description of the cabin in the mountains of Kochin fromKafka on the shorethis particular location made me wish for a life of isolation.

  • Pamela Mclaren
    2018-12-18 08:42

    Ever wonder who it was to live in a remote countryside during the Civil War? How it was to be a solder for the confederacy when your side seemed to be losing? This is one such scenario of what it was like. In this book you get to see the war from both sides: Inman, a young man from Cold Mountain, goes off to fight for probably glory but instead he is wounded and left to die on the battlefield. Only he doesn't die and is eventually picked up and taken to a field hospital then sent on to a regular hospital where he is pretty much left to get better on his own. When he does, he decides that the war is not all it was cracked up to be and he doesn't want to face such odds again.Meanwhile, Ada, whose father was a preacher from Chicago serving the Cold Mountain congregation. Is struggling to make sense of her world as her father dies and then she finds out that her inheritance is pretty much the farm where she and her father lived. A farm that wasn't run as a working enterprise. Pretty soon, the fields have gone wild and the animals are wandering at will and without training on how to make a go of it, Ada is lost. This is about their journey: his to get back to Cold Mountain and Ada, who he hasn't seen in four years, she to gain self-sufficiency and independence. For most of the book its a long slow haul.I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book. I was interested in Inman's journey but not enough to keep reading because I wanted to find out what was happening ... it was always dark. Ada's journey was growth as she learned what she needed to live and the value of a good friend but it was also almost always a struggle. Finally, in literally the last 25 pages, things happen and while there are some uplifting moments, even that was depressing. I'm not sure how to describe this. Its certainly not a mystery, not a history nor a romance. Did I learn something, was I surprised, did I cheer on the main characters? No. I disagree with the book's description that this "reveals marked insight into man's relationship to the land and the dangers of solitude" what ever that means. The same with Frazier "shares with the great nineteenth-century novelists a keen observation of a society undergoing change." I don't get the point.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-01-10 12:03

    I hated this book. Said enough? I put off writing the review as I know others will disagree. It's not that it isn't well written, it's not that the characters aren't done well. In the words of a friend of mine when her husband talked her into reading it..."Why would I like this thing?"Some will not agree with me, and that's fine, but I have lived through relatively tough times, I've lost loved ones, I've struggled for something only to have it fall through. These are not my leisure time activities. When I spend my money on a novel I'm not looking for nihilism. This is another book in the "life is hard and then you die" school. So, if your sitting there thinking that "great art" always depicts pain then this is the book for you. Obviously some movie makers feel that way, but I don't. I gave it 1 star, there are well written parts of it, but for me the rest just isn't worth it. If it's your cup of tea, enjoy.

  • Cheri
    2018-12-23 12:01

    I read this book before the movie was planned (at least to my knowledge), and I loved it from the beginning. It probably isn't the type of book you can read with lots of distraction around you, it requires a quiet setting where you can immerse yourself in the beautiful writing. Set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains the story of the Civil War is told as it relates to the lives of those who live in this rural area, and the devastating effect it has on everyone. However, the story is much more about love, forgiveness and hope than just the despair of the seemingly endless days until Inman returns.

  • Camie
    2019-01-10 11:43

    This is an award winning modern classic skillfully written by Charles Frazier who as a native of the Carolina Mountains provides rich detail of the terrain. It's the story of Inman a wounded soldier who escapes from a field hospital and walks away from the Civil war, through the war torn and soon to be defeated South to return to Cold Mountain and Ada his sweetheart. Meanwhile Ada and Ruby a feisty drifter try to revive her father's farm which has gone to ruin after his death. An underlying theme of the book is the futility of war. As Inman travels, and indeed right until the end of the book, he never quite knows if those he encounters are friend or foe. There is a passage in the book that eludes to the thought that if some of the confused men here don't actually kill each other during the war.... they may someday be sitting together having a drink. 4 stars - reread for OTSLT 2/18

  • Book Concierge
    2018-12-25 08:45

    Book on CD read by the authorA wounded soldier walks away from the hospital, determined to return to his love on Cold Mountain. Meanwhile that young woman, raised to be a flower of Southern womanhood, is finding her way alone, with the help of a homeless waif with reserves of strength and the knowledge to survive. This is a slow study in character and what matters most. Inman has fought valiantly but no longer recognizes the purpose for which he is fighting, and wants nothing more than to return to Ada and Cold Mountain, and be let alone to live in peace. Ada was cherished by her father after her mother died giving birth to her. She’s been educated, had trips to Europe, studied piano, and dressed in the latest finery. When her father’s doctors suggest that a move to the mountains will improve his ailing health, they leave muggy Charleston for a small stead on Cold Mountain. She is a hot-house orchid in a field of wildflowers. She can speak French and read Latin, but doesn’t know how to cook, tend a vegetable garden or milk a cow; she lacks the skills to survive. Ruby is a homeless waif, whose father would rather drink and fiddle than care for his only child. She has fended for herself about as long as she could walk. She comes to Ada with a proposition – she will help Ada manage the farm, in exchange for her own place to live and an equal partnership. What I loved most about the novel was the relationships between and personal growth of the women – Ada and Ruby – how they moved from dependent/superior to an equal partnership and true friendship. They grew to recognize and admire one another’s strengths, put their differences aside and developed a true and genuine trust between them born of hard work and repeated small tests. While Ada and Inman’s bond was ethereal and romantic, the bond between Ada and Ruby was grounded in the North Carolina soil and woods they called home. Had Sherman marched his forces through their cove I’d bet on Ruby and Ada to get the best of the federals. The novel moves back and forth between Ada/Ruby and Inman, giving different perspectives on this time during the Civil War. Inman lived much more on the knife’s edge between survival and death, and his chapters were more suspenseful. While Ada and Ruby were no less in danger of losing their lives and /or livelihood (as was brought out by several of the people and situations Inman encountered), they did seem to lead a relatively “charmed” life – hard work, yes, but less danger for the most part. Charles Frazier read the audio version himself. This was a mistake. He has no skill at all as a voice artist, and his reading was slow, ponderous and lacked inflection. I thought I would just fall asleep to his droning as I drove to and from work. It was the quality of his writing that saved the work for me. Were I evaluating the book based on the audio it would get only 2 stars.