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Thirteen Moons

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  10,292 Ratings  ·  1,564 Reviews
Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons is the story of one man's remarkable life, spanning a century of relentless change. At the age of twelve, an orphan named Will Cooper is given a horse, a key, a map and is sent on a journey through the wilderness to the edge of the Cherokee Nation, the uncharted white space on the map. Will is a bound boy, obliged to run a remote Indian tra ...more
Published (first published January 1st 2006)
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Scotty Charles Frazier is a VERY talented modern writer. I will not go into what I think about most of the idiots who critique books. Thirteen Moons is a…moreCharles Frazier is a VERY talented modern writer. I will not go into what I think about most of the idiots who critique books. Thirteen Moons is a delight to read. It's not as good as Cold Mountain in flow and character development, but it is still great. (less)
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Ton No, Featherstone was not Claire's father. We were long kept to believe so, just as Will, but during one of their last meetings in the plantation house…moreNo, Featherstone was not Claire's father. We were long kept to believe so, just as Will, but during one of their last meetings in the plantation house Claire tells Will that Featherstone is her husband.(less)
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Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. Sure, it may be a somewhat cliched "going native" story, but the narrative is actually based on the life of the historical figure William Holland Thomas (his name has been changed to William Cooper in the novel). Plus Ch
Katie Schmid
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Erica Verrillo
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Hansen Wendlandt
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serious-fiction
Charles Frazier is a master of storytelling in the tradition of those ancient storytellers who recited their lore before camp fires and in public places. I can understand why he is at home with his subject matter in Thirteen Moons, as the lives of American indians were passed in just such a manner. Will Cooper bears witness to a sad and shameful period of history, but does so without sentimentality, blame, or the shirking of blame. Will, Claire, Featherstone and Bear emerge as three-dimensional ...more
Dec 26, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Feb 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Appalachia, much like American history in general, will never be my subject of choice, but every so often an author comes along who makes it interesting and rewarding reading experience. Frazier has done so with Nightwoods and it was a reasonably good assumption that he might again, although technically this is in reverse chronological order. Alas, this book lacked Nightwoods succinct grace and subtlety and failed to make up for it in verbosity, being something like time and a half the size. Whi ...more
Grace Harwood
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A solid four and a half stars, rounded up for the unique voice Charles Frazier achieves in crafting Will Cooper, an entirely believable character made up of a pastiche of real people, real events, real places and mountain myths.

Yes, it's a long book, a rambling tale that takes too long to tell and could easily lose 100 pages of Will Cooper riding aimlessly around in the wilderness. But that's part of its charm; few actual lives have a consistent story arc. I was happy listening to Will tell, in
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.
May 02, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction.
"Cold Mountain" was such an amazing work of literature, that pretty much anything Frazier followed up with was bound to suffer by comparison. But I think this book particularly fails to deliver on the promise of talent that Frazier showed in his first novel.

"Thirteen Moons" is the story of a man named Will. It is essentially his "autobiography," written as he is dying around the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th century. The plot is linear, moving from Will's childhood to his old age. An
Sarita Rich
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Being from the Mountains of VA and being part Cherokee I was really excited about this book. Some of the narrative was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed the views on nature and native American culture.
This book never really captivated my interest and I only got about 150 pages into it. Character development was sorely lacking and I'm not wasting anymore time on this thing.

In the past I would always slave on and just get through a book as fast as possible regardless of how much I h
Jenée Libby
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I cried for 20 minutes when I finished Cold Mountain on my back porch at my shitty apartment back on Dooley Avenue in Richmond, VA. First, because I had finished the book and didn't want it to end. Second, because I couldn't believe it ended the way it did. Third, because I had never read such a deeply heartfelt love story in my young life. I felt like this man had grown up as a part of my family, researched my family tree, somehow acquired their voices, and then written a book about them.

Upon f
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: almost-poetry
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
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
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
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The protagonist of this compelling historical fiction novel is a "bound boy" who lives among the Cherokee. Like many of Frazier's books, it's set within his beloved Appalachian Mountains. I got this particular book in audio and I couldn't stop reading. This is my fourth Frazier novel; his talent is boundless.
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-novel
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
Apr 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Jay Johnston
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
I read Cold Mountain almost exactly 20 years ago and it remains one of my favorite books - which makes it even more surprising I let so much time pass before reading more from Frazier. I enjoyed 13 Moons, but it never passed into the world of pure magic that I experienced with Cold Mountain Nevertheless, there is plenty here for me to praise. The author states it is a work of pure fiction, but I still learned a lot about one of the ugliest chapters in America's history. It was hard to read in se ...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...
“Survive long enough and you get to a far point in life where nothing else of particular interest is going to happen. After that, if you don’t watch out, you can spend all your time tallying your losses and gains in endless narrative. All you love has fled or been taken away. Everything fallen from you except the possibility of jolting and unforewarned memory springing out of the dark, rushing over you with the velocity of heartbreak. May walking down the hall humming an old song—“The Girl I Left Behind Me”—or the mere fragrance of clove in spiced tea can set you weeping and howling when all you’ve been for weeks on end is numb.” 27 likes
“It is a bad idea to live too long. Few carry it off well.” 24 likes
More quotes…