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Thirteen Moons is wonderful!
I stumbled upon this book because it had a lot of Native American and Cherokee information in it. (I avidly read any historical fiction that I can get my hands on.) I had not read Cold Mountain, so I had no preformed opinion.
I am on my fourth reading and am more fascinated with each read. I think I have a large vocabulary, but I found myself making lists of words that I was not familiar with and felt compelled to look up. Words like panniers, arpents, and skipple. Old time card games like Lanterloo and Blind and Straddle. Not knowing the definition of some of the words that Mr. Frazier uses does not diminish the storyline, as the reader can pretty much guess what they mean, but they add an essence, or a spice, to the writing that really makes you feel like you are there.
The author hits all emotions and all of life's stages in the characters of Will, the father figures of Bear and Featherstone and the lovely Claire. The land, creature comforts (or the lack thereof), customs and historical markers are interwoven into a story that is simple and majestic.
A must read.
I thought Cold Mountain was good but this book is just excellent! I have just finished reading it for the second time and because of the superb way it is written, I found images in it I had missed on the first reading. I rushed it the first time as I had a preconceived idea of how the book could end. As a Brit with little knowledge of the dreadful removal of the Indians to the West, it was a sad eye-opener to that time in the history. I can't wait for Charles Frazier's next book.
A Different Perspective
A self professed book snob, I have been reading and loving classic literature from a very early age. Many years ago I picked up Cold Mountain because I knew that Frazer is from the same mountain region as I. It left me stunned and amazed, and in love with Frazer's writing as much as I was in love with Mark Twain's writing. So... many years later I accepted a job with my tribe's (Eastern Cherokee) Language Revitalization Program. I hadn't been there very long when one day a quiet bearded gentleman passed through our offices. I asked some who he was. When they said it was Charles Frazer I almost fainted. What was he doing in our offices? I wanted to know. He was here regarding translations of his book, Thirteen Moons (which I had not yet heard of at that time). Of course I immediately located a copy and nearly gave myself eye strain as I greedily read it. I could not believe it. For once it seemed that a writer of real substance had written a story about my people that portrayed us as we once were, without making us into savages or mystics, but just regular people. The story, though fictional, is closely aligned with the real life Will Thomas. It is an amazing book, worthy of praise and awards, but to my people it is so much more. Can't wait 'till the movie comes out- hope Hollywood does it justice like they did Cold Mountain.
Somewhere within this rambling, inconsistent novel there's a good book - or maybe two or three good books, if you can find them. Just enough worthwhile storytelling to give it my recommendation.
Frazier is a good writer. Cold Mountain was better as a book than as a movie. 13 Moons should make a better movie. I liked the recipes for snake and squirrel as humor (I would not cook either). But there are other good recipes scattered throughout.
Thin Plot, Insufficiently Described Characters--Just OK
Taken as a whole, this book was a bit of a disappointment. Having finished the book minutes ago, I realize that I never truly understood the main characters, Will, Claire and Bear. Since I never really came to know them, I couldn't fully understand their motivations, the basis for the enduring love Will felt for Claire, nor--and perhaps most mystifying--Claire's repeated rejections of Will, even though she appeared to love him. As a result of these issues, I could never fully connect emotionally with the characters or their plights. On the plus side, I thought that the historical description of the treatment of the Indians, particularly during the "Removal" was fascinating and heartwrenching. The descriptions of the lands were generally beautifully written, but at times went on and on ad naseum. Clearly, Frazier is a very talented writer--who desperately appears to need a better editor. In conclusion, not bad--but there's definitely better stuff out there.
I'd recommend reading it
It is not Cold Mountain. But, it is a good read. A real good read. I felt as I read it that Will could do no wrong nor suffer any failing. I found that to be artificial and a fantasy, especially since I am of a certain age. Thank god that he finally endured a bankruptcy.
a differant time I miss
But overall to this Italian American, Yankee, graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia, the novel was overwhelmingly compelling and riveting. I hope he keeps writing.
The 1800s were the time for Americans to have the greatest adventures--
and when one can go back to those time by way of a great story teller---- it is magic---I hated to get to the end of the story as I knew I would for ever miss those people and their times.
I was born in the 30s in a small farming town well behind the time----two blacksmiths shops still kept horses shoed and farm machines mended---I miss those day and now I miss the world the Charles Frazier created and the lessons on living a worth while life explained by will and bear.