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Written in a slightly elegant, almost poetic tone, the book is not really a story so much as a collection of small vignettes. It has been said that the book is "based on local history and family stories passed down by the author's great great grandfather." These stories are tenuously connected to a homeward bound Civil War journey made by a Confederate deserter named Inman. The events along the way are mostly dangerous and are more or less interesting with an air of factuality about them. While Inman is having his encounters, his love object, Ada (whom he met about three weeks before going off to war) remains at home on her inherited farm learning to, well, farm; since her preacher father had taught her nothing about crops or animals before he died. Ada is taught farming by her friend Ruby, a forceful and very practical hillbilly. Unlike Inman, Ada changes and grows during the book. Also unlike Inman she never actually faces any real danger. Sure, initially she does not know how to cook or farm, but the food is there to be had. Ada just does not know what to do with it, and would prefer to read books anyway. So, Ruby is quite handy. Cold Mountain seems almost designed to be inoffensive. So much so, that I wondered if the author was intentionally being "politically correct." All of the bad guys are, in fact, guys -- white guys. Making sure to be fair, some of the bad men are Rebels, others are Yankees. The plot is simple. The main characters are not the least bit complex. But predictability is a big problem. Nonetheless, Cold Mountain is pleasant to read. I have seen a recommendation that the book should be read only one chapter at a time. That way the reader can savor each of Inman's adventures one at a time. Also, concentrate on the author's descriptions of the flora and fauna of North Carolina. He seems to know of what he writes. His knowledge of Civil War history seems similarly solid.
I haven't loved a book as much as I loved Cold Mountain in a long, long time. It will go on my all-time favorites list. Why did I enjoy it so? First and foremost, the writing--decriptions of time and space that simply put you there. You can't read about Ada sitting under the bush in her front year with the chicken droppings and not be there with her. I agree with another reviewer who likened this more to poetry than prose. Secondly, the characters. Ruby goes up there with Boo Radley for me. A truly unique character. Ada is more interesting to me than your typical pampered Southern Belle. And Inman? Is is possible to fall in love with a fictional man? Thirdly, the way nature is respected in this book is so close to my own view. Ruby's explanation of why certain flowers grow how they grow is a perfect example of the power and perfection of nature, and this view is repeated over and over again. Lastly, this book contains the single most romantic line I have ever read in fiction. I'll leave it a surprise to the lucky few who haven't read Cold Mountain to discover.
I live in the great State of North Carolina, quite close to Cold Mountain. People are flocking in droves here to see the movie...I flocked to it as well. But they should ALL READ THE BOOK FIRST. The book was a brilliant and moving story. I loved the story line, and the characters. Frazier is a colorful author; however, spends way too much time on plants, food, and animals. Some of the pages become boring and I had to skip entire paragraphs, but never missed any of the story by doing that. It is NOT easy reading. It requires concentration and evaluation of his words, and I consider myself well-educated and well-read. But if you read the book before seeing the movie, the movie will make much more sense. Acutally, I liked the movie a little better. It was more entertaining than the book. The book was...well, educational. But all in all, I recommend it, a beautiful story. I will never forget it.
This book is a breath of fresh air. Frazier's seemingly open writing style makes the book human. He allows you to relate to the characters and really feel the past, unlike other civil war books that keep you at a distant. Cold Mountain is a timeless, yet original love story in which the characters go through phsycological changes because of life altering experiences.
This is a lyrical and moving novel, but Frasier unfortunately falters at the end by making the stereotypical 'tragic end' mistake. It really does make the book seem pointless. Yet in doing so, Frasier thereby joins the ranks of many celebrated authors throughout the history of literature who believed the only stories worth telling were the ones that ended in misery. The characters of Cold Mountain labored, struggled, sacrificed and suffered - for what, again? Is Frasier trying to tell us life is unfair? That it's full of tragedy, of heartbreak? That "War is Hell?" I think he did so many times over during the course of the novel; the Civil War setting alone makes many of those points just by association. But maybe he thought no one would take him seriously if he gave it a more positive ending... feared criticism for being an 'Oprah's Book Club' case of happy-ending contrivedness. It's a shame he couldn't have enough faith in the beauty and strength of his own work to give the reader a vision of hope and renewal. The South did carry on... the spirits of those who came home and those who waited deserve to be remembered, their courage celebrated. Unfortunately, a tribute to such strength and endurance is ultimately *not* found in the pages of Cold Mountain.
I really liked the book until i got to the end. The ending was, in short unsatisfying. The rest of the book flowed very well back and forth from diffrent main characters. It also was adiquate in explaining the historys of the character just enough to make you feel you could undersand what the characters where doing and why. I would recomend this book to anyone that doesn't mind a very... unsatisfying ending. But the rest of the book was quite enjoyable.
I could go on and on about how wonderful this book is.It's almost unfair to say I loved the book, a more accurate discription would be, I had a passion for it.Icannot say that about many books.The language in Cold Mountain just baffles the mind, it reads more like poetry than anything else,Charles Fraizer is a genius with words.in short,go read the book. It's a life-altering experience.
Just finished Cold Mountain. I am not a fan of heavily descriptive books and this made it difficult for me to read this book. I kept thinking "Come on, get on with the plot.."
I also didn't like that he didn't use " around his dialogue. I found that difficult.