Clif's Reviews > Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
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Sep 03, 09

Read in September, 2009

Life's a bitch, and then you die.

That wouldn't be a bad subtitle for the plot of this book of suffering and sadness, violence and unreason, loneliness and longing. It left me more strongly convinced of my contention that no one can return from war in anywhere near the same mental state they were prior to the fighting.

What makes the story is the author's wonderful writing style that captures the time and place. Cold Mountain lives and breathes the rural south during the Civil War years. Add in a special feeling for the natural world with so much of it spoken of and utilized by Ruby, the creature of the countryside, who makes things work in a broken world.

Bring in a colorful character or two such as Stobrod, Ruby's reluctant father, whose musical life is transformed by a dying request for his fiddle playing and you have a very rewarding read.

The bad guys (Teague and his cohort) are forgettable and I could have done without the fascination with firearms; the "LeMat" that the protagonist carries is raised almost to the status of another character.

Reading Frazier's prose is like sitting on your daddy's knee, begging him to tell you a story and having him hold forth eloquently in a way that not only could you never have imagined, but that satisfies your wish to listen in every way.
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