Thirteen Moons: A Novel
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Thirteen Moons: A Novel

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  7,733 ratings  ·  1,247 reviews
This magnificent novel by one of America’s finest writers is the epic of one man’s remarkable journey, set in nineteenth-century America against the background of a vanishing people and a rich way of life.

At the age of twelve, under the Wind moon,
Will is given a horse, a key, and a map, and sent alone into the Indian Nation to run a trading post as a bound boy. It is duri...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2006)
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Dan
Damn.

I just wrote a lengthy review of this excellent book and apparently GoodReads was having server problems just as I was submitting it.

So...I don't have the stomach to type all that out again, so kindly believe me when I tell you that Thirteen Moons is a tremendous accomplishment, that the negative reviews stem from an apparent failure to realize that the novel is a narrative based on the life of the historical figure William Holland Thomas (his name has been changed to William Cooper in the...more
Katie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erica Verrillo
When I started this book, I felt some trepidation. I didn't think that Frazier could top Cold Mountain. As it turned out, he didn't have to. Will's story was a whole new world, one which completely captivated me. It's been months now since I finished the book, and I can still remember all the characters - Will, Claire, Bear - as vividly as if I'd known them for years.

Charles Frazier, whether or not you like his subject matter, has what all novelists strive for and what very few achieve: the abil...more
Lucy
Oct 18, 2007 Lucy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: patient readers
Like Cold Mountain, this took me awhile to appreciate. But once I did, wow...there is so much beauty in words, landscape and life study to enjoy.

A sweeping epic of a man's life from the early 1800s to the end of the century in the American South, Frazier describes the harsh realities of a young and sometimes immature government as it expands its territory and faces its own human rights abuses. He does this through the life of Will Cooper, a bound boy on his own since his eleventh year and a man...more
Tyler
A girl in one of my English classes last semester said of this book, "I always get sucked into that Appalachian shit." Frazier romanticizes the lifestyle and landscape of pre-urbanization America better than many writers, making it pretty easy to get 'sucked into that shit.'

However, I think he captured the fertile wonder of the natural world and its rhythms in his first novel, the well-known 'Cold Mountain,' than he does here. When he's at his best, his images of man living in nature can remind...more
Hansen Wendlandt
I suppose this novel may be even more interesting for people familiar with the Appalachians or the natural life, but anyone can appreciate Frazier’s great characters, adventure, romance and occasionally sympathetic but ultimately realistic lament for the ‘progress’ of civilization over native culture. This is an entertaining story with great balance of action and depth, moving the many plots smoothly along without sacrificing any detail. He writes conversations masterfully, especially the great...more
Paul (formerly known as Current)
Like Cold Mountain, this carefully written book covers a place and a time--weaving history into the fabric of its fiction--in a way that non-fiction cannot (and probably should not), bringing them to life. Whereas Cold Mountain is a story of epic quest modeled on the Odyssey with a love story as its major impetus, Thirteen Moons appears at first glance to be a biography told as the arc of a year's thirteen moons--birth to old age. Trapped by the teller in this story, his narration captures and m...more
Julia
Aug 05, 2008 Julia rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sad sacks, loney hearters, nostalgia fiends
Recommended to Julia by: No one; I picked it up off the shelf
This very long, very adjective-packed book is basically a study in heartbreak, and I would only reccommend it to those who like that sort of thing. The main character and narrator, one Will Cooper, has everything taken from him in his life, with the exception of money. That he seems to have a talent for accumulating (although in one chapter he looses that too, only to gain it again.) Everyone he loves is taken from him or voluntarily leaves, the homes that he knows don't hold any power over his...more
Stephani
Set in NC Mountains during, before, and after the removal of the Native Americans, when land beyond the Mississippi was wilderness and Tennessee was considered "The West".
Protagonist: William Cooper, also narrator
Love: Claire Featherstone
Antagonist: Featherstone, Claire's father
Also: Bear, father figure and friend to Narrator

Themes:
Language, Communication, Mistranslation
Brevity of youth, brevity of life
Life as suffering with only short reliefs
Loss of Identity

"The fleeting nature of our instant...more
Lauren
Dec 26, 2007 Lauren rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of cowboys
In many ways, Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons reads like a homage to James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, as well as a gratuitous appraisal of the birth and death of U.S. cowboy culture. The protagonist and narrator, Will Cooper, might as well be a long-lost relative of Natty Bumpo (whom he often references), a white man "going native" in a small community of Cherokee. The most interesting thing about the book is Frazier's research into the lives and particularly the multi-ethnicit...more
Ngaire
I'm veering between three and four stars here, because I'm still not sure what I think about this book. I mean, it's so rambling and picaresque, and there's really no plot to it...and yet, there's just something about it that makes me kinda like it. I mean, just the descriptions alone are beautiful, and Frazier's heartbreaking account of Removal and war are so full of truth and despair and humor. It made me laugh that every second character who came to southern Appalachia (and by the way, it's p...more
Julie
I read this book after seeing it in the gift shop of the Museum of the Cherokee in Cherokke, NC. I have an interest in Native American writers and topics, as well as an interest in the history of the land surrounding the Smoky Mountains, a vacation spot my husband and I have visited frequently. Although fiction, Frazier took great pains to research the Cherokee people and their complex history with the land. Barbara Duncan, Education Director for the Museum, was one of his sources. It does NOT r...more
Chris
3 1/2 stars rounded up. 3 stars for story, 4 stars for writing style.

Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons reads like a cross between Larry McMurtry and Louise Erdrich, leaning more towards McMurtry in plot and Erdrich in style.

The main character, Will, looks back over his colourful life in rambling fashion from the vantage of old age, beginning with being an orphan sent as a bound boy at the the age of 12 to run a remote store. Featuring prominently in his memories are Bear and Featherstone, two me...more
Sarita Rich
My dad gave me this book with lots of pages dogeared. I loved every page! I especially loved Frazier's descriptive style and how every time he detailed what what Will was eating, I wanted some too. Here's one of my favorite passages from when Will and Bear are in the winter house:

Day and night came not to signify. Our light was the fire. Smoke lay in a cloud above our heads, where it collected before going out the little hole. We kept housecat hours, sleeping three fourths of the day, and the r...more
Grace Harwood
When I first started writing,an editor advised me that a writer should always "make every word work for its space in the manuscript; making every word count". I don't think I've achieved it with every single word I've ever written, probably not even in the one that's been published, but Charles Frazier does. Every single word counts towards making this one of the most beautiful, evocative historical novels I have ever read. The character I loved most was Waverley, Will's beloved horse. There is...more
Tasha
Amazing! I listened to this on audio and it was so good. If I could give it more stars, I would. It was beautifully written, I fell in love with the MC and found the narrator for this audio perfect. Very few books hit my "to re-read list" but this one is in, no doubt. I am a huge fan now of Charles Frazier.
Briynne
I feel like I owe Charles Frazier a great big apology. First, I thought Cold Mountain looked like rubbish, only to find upon actually reading it that it was inspired. Then, out of nothing other than pure jealousy, I wrote him off as a one hit wonder and assumed that this book would most certainly be disappointing. It wasn't. So, Mr. Frazier, if you ever happen to find this review while Google-ing yourself, I'm sorry and regret my mental meanness. There. I feel better.

This was so lovely and so ef...more
Don
I was completely captivated by Charles Frazier's inaugural novel, Cold Mountain. The journey of the protagonist, the elements of the time, the food, paths, war; I was very taken with the writing and the story. I happened to be traveling in the Carolinas at the time of reading Cold Mountain which I confess might have deepened the novel's impression on me. I was enamored of the prose. So, when recently perusing the my public library, my wife suggested Thirteen Moons, who was I to say no? Not I. I...more
J.R.
Thirteen Moons is the stuff of legend. It’s poetic fiction at its grandest, yet totally believable.

Will Cooper, a 12-year-old orphan, is given a horse, a key and a map and is sent off into the wilderness of the Cherokee Nation where he is to run an Indian trading post. A tough job at the time for a seasoned man and one would not expect a mere boy to survive for long. But this is no ordinary boy.

En route, he gets lost, has his horse stolen, runs afoul of strange characters, loses his coat and mon...more
Dean
I’m an audiobook fan, I feel the need to at least pretend to spend my windshield time constructively. I started to listen to Cold Mountain, but its read by the author, almost certainly the kiss of death for an audiobook. The reader, the author, was sooo boring, I couldn’t do it. I then aborted to Thirteen Moons. I’m not sure if that was a good decision or not. Thirteen Moons is probably not as good a Cold Mountain, at least by the reviews I’ve read, but it had a professional reader.

If I had to d...more
NancyHelen
This wasn't a bad book - in fact it was really beautifully written in so many ways. It was just slow. Not that I expect a twisting, turning plot for every book - I have read many books that I have loved with little or no plot at all - but I just felt that this needed it a little more. The description and the history, although fascinating, just weren't quite enough for me. I did find the whole history of the Removal of the Indians sad and shocking though. American history certainly isn't my forte...more
James
When we were kids, my sisters and I used to have an expression for those moments where there just seemed to be nothing to do. Hanging around the house, bored out of our minds, one of us would inevitably say, "please pass the boring book." In our kid language, it meant, "man, am I ever bored out of my skull." I can't recall the origin of the phrase. I'll give my older sisters credit for making it up. There was no actual boring book. However, if there had been, it could have been "Thirteen Moons."...more
Chris Wallace
I did not want to read this book. I started reading Mr. Frazier's earlier book Cold Mountain at least 3 times and was not able to get interested in the story. Strange as it may seem historial novels are my favorite and enjoy almost any of them. After finishing 13 Moons I now know that I will never read another one by him.

I thought the beginning of the book was very interesting and I loved reading it. Then it just lost all interest and became a maudlin love story. Not even a very romantic one. T...more
bookczuk
I actually liked this book, despite Frazier's slow style of writing. It did take me a while to get into the story, but I remember that Cold Mountain was also slow starting, so I persevered. It also helps that I love this area of the world, so close to my beloved mountains in Rabun and Oconee Counties (Georgia and SC respectively).

This is a love story, and a history, both of which captured me. HAving said all that, it did take me a little while to sort out Featherstone and Bear...but I eventuall...more
John
I've been trying to come to a conclusion about my feelings on this book for a few days now. Cold Mountain is a strong book.

This story line occurs as the American Indian is being pushed (Manifest Destiny) from the Appalachia Mountains (the Removal) to west of the Mississippi River. The characters in both books are bold, fully developed, energetic and vital. Frazier brings emotional and sympathetic life in much the same way as CM. Cold Mountain was centered on searching for a return to an easier l...more
Tania
I loved Cold Mountain by Frazier (that novel was passed around among the women in my family, so when the movie came out we all trekked together to bond over the cinematic rendition of the story. And drool a little over Jude Law.) But I digress. I loved Thirteen Moons, too. Frazier has an extraordinary gift for visual, tactical writing--he can plant a vivid experience of the senses directly in the mind of readers with words alone. I love his ability to arc his stories over the entire lifetime of...more
Tom
It's a rare 1st person narrator I enjoy keeping company with for over 400+ pgs. Other than Huck Finn, I'm having trouble thinking of notable exceptions (feel free to enlighten me with suggestions). In the case of Will Cooper, narrator of TM, he was entertaining, dramatic, witty and compellingly melancholic about half the time; the other half he was annoying, self-inflated, borderline whiny and just too damn talky. Frazier sets him up as a kind of Thoreauvian witness of America in the 19th c, foc...more
Eileen
I enjoyed Thirteen Moons. Frazier's use of language and metaphor is so natural and flowing - truly a beautiful piece of writing. He presents a nuanced look at living in the mountains of North Carolina during the period of history when the US government was trying to remove the Native Americans to reservations out west. He presents the social issues of the day - indentured slavery, slavery, issues of race and the vast difference in life between those who lived in cities and those who lived a a ru...more
Garnette
Did you ever love reading a book so much you had to put it down only five pages to the end? And then cannot BEAR being away from it, so you go ahead and finish. Then cry because of its beauty and that it’s over. Never again WILL I read Thirteen Moons for the first time – and I’m already nostalgic for it.

You say it’s the location. The Southern Appalachians where my family lived for twelve generations, generally acknowledged as one of the most magnificent on Earth. It’s not only that. Tomorrow is...more
Robert
There are a great many historical parallels to the main character, although Frazier assures us that the locations and characters other than the obvious historical figures are fictional. The story period spans the time from the Andrew Jackson presidency through the turn of the century, and covers the immense changes to the lifestyle in western North Carolina. In particular, the story revolves around the experiences of the main character, Will, who travels to this area as a "bound boy" at the age...more
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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...
Cold Mountain Nightwoods Cold Mountain: The Journey from Book to Film Adventuring in the Andes Cold Mountain: A Screenplay

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