Tyler's Reviews > Thirteen Moons

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
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's review
Aug 01, 07

bookshelves: the-american-vernacular
Read in July, 2007

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 the reader of the eloquent backwoods monologues in the films of Terrence Malick.

'Thirteen Moons' starts off strong, promising to be as potent a meditation on love and mankind's encroachment on the noble wilderness as 'Cold Mountain' was. But about 3/4 of the way in, Frazier seems to run of steam. The narrator's various episodes of the final portion of the book aren't nearly as memorable as the sense of discovery and first romance in the beginning half. An argument could be made that this approach the course of life, especially coming from a narrator of such advanced age; the epiphanies of our youth are never equalled as we recede into routine and dullness with age. I can agree with this to some extent, but I still feel that Frazier should either have narrowed his focus, and made the majority of the book about the narrator's love story and young life among the Native Americans, or expanded the latter half of the book to give the events therein more significance.

Still, like I said above, it's hard not to get sucked into this shit and 'Thirteen Moons' is an entertaining read, despite its flaws.
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