Cold Mountain
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Cold Mountain

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  129,631 ratings  ·  3,800 reviews
The hero of Charles Frazier's first novel is Inman, a disillusioned Confederate soldier who has failed to die as expected after being seriously wounded in battle during the last days of the Civil War. Rather than waiting to be redeployed to the front, the soul-sick Inman deserts, and embarks on a dangerous and lonely odyssey through the devastated South, heading home to No...more
Paperback, 449 pages
Published August 31st 2006 by Grove Press (first published 1997)
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sckenda
The spirit of the crow and the heron dominate this book, a paean for close reading of life and a summons to attentiveness. Humans lived close to the earth in the lost world of Cold Mountain. They paid heed to the cycles of the seasons, knew the names and properties of plants, noticed the habits of animals. I enshrine “Cold Mountain” upon my altar bookshelf with my other most treasured books because this book fundamentally changed the way I looked at the world.

Before reading “Cold Mountain,” I w...more
Amanda
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 (althou...more
Luthien
Jun 25, 2007 Luthien rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
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'...more
Heidi
Dec 03, 2013 Heidi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who know their classics
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...more
Ali
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 t...more
Algernon

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...more
julio
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.
Tyler
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 pas...more
John
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 touch...no 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
Dec 04, 2013 G rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to G by: Joe Hatcher
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...more
Josh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol Storm
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 o...more
Rosamund
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...more
Kristen
Dec 02, 2008 Kristen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kristen by: Cindy Bravo
Shelves: high-brow
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...more
Alison
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy
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 Fountai...more
Arun Divakar
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 H...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim
Wow...did not enjoy this book. The writing was masturbatory and the plotline was stupid. It had all the elements of a greek tragedy (the inevitability and almost cheesily coincidental misunderstandings) an yet it felt supremely unsatisfying. Charles Frazier crapped and this came out.
Erin
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...more
Christy
Even rustic Cold Mountain, NC feels the cold embrace of the Civil War and most of its young men answer the call to fight. Some of the more hardened stay behind and form the Home Guard, which amounts to nothing more than a group of violent men intent on delivering their own brand of justice to those they call outliers, deserters of the war.

This is the story of two people in Cold Mountain who meet, are separated by the war, and meet again, both drastically changed by the hardships they’ve endured...more
Megan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brad
This review was written in the late nineties (just for myself), and it was buried in amongst my things until today, when I uncovered the journal it was written in. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets indicate some additional information for the sake of readability). It is one of my lost reviews.

So much to say ... what's the most important? Well, Frazier's novel seems a throwback to the American naturalist movement, incorporating elements of historiog...more
Sandy
amazing book. rich in language and imagery. Couldn't put it down and to this day, what....10 or more years later?... I remember it vividly. I loved it. The history of the real people in the civil war, of the Cherokee forced from their lands, of the deep penetrating wilderness of the mountains and the characters that struggled to survive there - the woman with the goats - and how, with a tender loving hold on one of her kits, while scratching its ears, she killed it so quickly it was probably nev...more
Mack
Cold Mountain was absolutely beautiful. Charles Frazier has written a masterpiece that captures the country of America in all its beauty and its corruption.

Cold Mountain follows a war-ravaged Confederate soldier named W.P. Inman. While recovering from a wound everyone thought was fatal, Inman makes the decision to desert his regiment and travel to Cold Mountain in pursuit of Ada Monroe, the woman he loves. Along the way, he encounters many challenges, especially from the Home Guard, who are task...more
Betty O
Nov 11, 2007 Betty O rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who love a good story
Shelves: pnri-book-club
Charles Frazier's first book. He is a consummate storyteller. I loved every bit of this book, which was recomended by a writer friend. I asked what it was about and he said "Well, it takes place during the Civil War" and immediately my eyes began to glaze over. I start thinking about Red Badge of Courage (yuck). But then I read the first page and found myself compelled to buy it at the airport on the way home. It is a tale of love superimposed on the horror of war, the senselessness of war. I es...more
Deborah
Cold Mountain by Charles Frasier is easily one of my favorite books. It is set in the mountains of NC during the civil war. Firstly, allow me to say that I rarely read period novels from this era because they tend to romanticize war with a heavy dose of gone with the wind thrown in.

This book is more of a human journey. One man's many discoveries into the gritty and unpredictable human psyche.

The movie wasn't so bad but it didn't cover the many encounters he had as he struggled to get back hom...more
Antof9
There is no back-of-the-book description, so I'll just say that it takes place in the South, near the end of the Civil War. The main characters are Inman, a wounded soldier trying to make his way home to Cold Mountain; Ada, a grown-up orphan with no farm skills but lots of "accomplished lady" skills; and Ruby, an unschooled but land-educated "hired girl who isn't a hired girl" who presents herself to Ada to help around the place.

There are MANY ancillary characters, whose lives intersect one or m...more
Alaine
I read this book for a book to movie challenge that I'm participating in. I didn't really know what I'd think of the book and was curious to see how closely the movie followed it. I'd read some reviews that weren't overly favourable especially with regards to the love story between Ada and Inman but I was pleasantly surprised.

If you read the book blurb it says that this is the story about a very long walk. As Inman gets out of his hospital bed and begins to walk home to Cold Mountain in the rem...more
Christie Hinrichs
I am a SUCKER for these kinds of novels. An arresting historical backdrop... crusty and compelling characters at the brink of a cultural chasm... doomed love. It all lined up in Cold Mountain. But the unexpected surprise of this book was its artful craftsmanship and the musical nature of language. It is such a lyrical and haunting book - which is stunningly beautiful in scope without losing a shred of authenticity. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, and highly recommend it. Don't l...more
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North Carolina Go...: C is for Cold Mountain 1 2 Jun 09, 2014 03:59PM  
US Civil War fiction: Like Cold Mountain? 9 30 Sep 15, 2013 09:18AM  
couldn't do it 112 596 Aug 24, 2013 10:47AM  
Too Slow and Too Detailed 22 92 May 07, 2013 11:53PM  
Monroe's sermon in Cold Mountain 1 21 May 02, 2013 07:39AM  
Around the World ...: Discussion for Cold Mountain 14 81 Mar 02, 2013 07:04PM  
THE JAMES MASON C...: How do you as author find inspiration in films? 1 7 Oct 23, 2012 03:40AM  
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Charles Frazier is an award-winning author of American historical fiction. His literary corpus, to date, is comprised of three New York Times best selling novels: Nightwoods (2011), Thirteen Moons (2006), and Cold Mountain (1997) - winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.


Librarian Note: There are multiple authors in the goodreads database with this name. more info here.
More about Charles Frazier...
Thirteen Moons Nightwoods Cold Mountain: The Journey from Book to Film Adventuring in the Andes Cold Mountain: A Screenplay

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“She fit her head under his chin, and he could feel her weight settle into him. He held her tight and words spilled out of him without prior composition. And this time he made no effort to clamp them off. He told her about the first time he had looked on the back of her neck as she sat in the church pew. Of the feeling that had never let go of him since. He talked to her of the great waste of years between then and now. A long time gone. And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry your scars with you. Nevertheless, over all those wasted years, he had held in his mind the wish to kiss her on the back of her neck, and now he had done it. There was a redemption of some kind, he believed, in such complete fulfillment of a desire so long deferred.” 276 likes
“I'm ruined beyond repair, is what I fear...And if so, in time we'd both be wretched and bitter."
"I know people can be mended. Not all, and some more immediately than others. But some can be. I don't see why not you."
"Why not me?”
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