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Cold Mountain (1997)

de Charles Frazier

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

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13,141195398 (3.82)495
The impact of the Civil War on lovers. Inman is not the man he used to be, as wounded in battle he slowly makes his way home to North Carolina. His sweetheart, Ada, too has changed, no longer a flighty belle but a hard-working farm woman. Will love be the same?
  1. 30
    Odissea de Homer (TomWaitsTables)
  2. 20
    Winter's Bone de Daniel Woodrell (1Owlette)
  3. 20
    The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War de Howard Bahr (starfishpaws)
  4. 10
    Redemption Falls de Joseph O'Connor (1Owlette)
  5. 10
    Lonesome Dove de Larry McMurtry (sturlington)
  6. 21
    March de Geraldine Brooks (1Owlette)
  7. 10
    In the Fall de Jeffrey Lent (1Owlette)
  8. 10
    Freeman Walker de David Allan Cates (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Civil War era stories of trekking along the long road home.
  9. 10
    Ghost Riders de Sharyn McCrumb (myshelves)
    myshelves: Also involves the Home Guard, outliers, deserters --- a mini-war in an isolated locality, in the midst of the Civil War.
  10. 00
    All Other Nights de Dara Horn (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  11. 00
    Ghosts of The Soon Departed de T. A. Epley (ancestorsearch)
    ancestorsearch: Story that spans over four generations beginning in the era of the Civil War takes place in the Appalachians area of North Carolina.
  12. 11
    Boone's Lick de Larry McMurtry (clif_hiker)
  13. 00
    She-Rain: A Story of Hope de Michael Cogdill (JG_IntrovertedReader)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 195 (següent | mostra-les totes)
In September 1864, wounded Confederate soldier W. P. Inman leaves the rural Virginia hospital where he’s been convalescing and lights out for home, without furlough papers. It’s a risky move. Irregulars comb the countryside for deserters, and if they catch him, the only question is whether they’ll kill him immediately or bring him to the nearest town for execution. But he hates the war, which he feels never had purpose, aside from protecting wealthy slaveholders’ property, and combat has scarred his psyche so badly, he’s ready to take his chances.

He hopes to meet up with Ada Monroe, a woman back in Cold Mountain, western North Carolina, whom he hasn’t seen since the war began. They’ve exchanged letters, but Inman doesn’t know whether they ever had an “understanding,” or, if they did, whether Ada will care for him now, in his emotionally damaged state.

But Ada has her own troubles—and a journey to make. Her father, a preacher, has just died, leaving her with a farm gone to seed because of wartime labor shortages and no skills or resources to maintain the place. The late Monroe encouraged—nay, required—his daughter to cultivate her mind and sense of gentility, so that she must never lift a finger in anything remotely resembling physical labor.

As a consequence, Ada’s extremely literate, plays the piano (stolidly), and can draw, but she hasn’t a clue about raising crops or animals, or about the natural environment on which her existence would depend if she operated the farm. However, she has only one alternative: returning to Charleston, where she was born, throwing herself on the mercy of relatives she never liked, and settling for a husband who’d probably not appreciate her independent mind.

Cold Mountain bears a slight resemblance to the Odyssey, in that Inman, as Odysseus, must endure myriad misadventures and combats to return to Penelope, whom he dares not presume is waiting for him. His narrative is therefore episodic, full of reversals and derring-do. Like Odysseus, he’s clever and needs to be; unlike him, though, he’s not malign. Not ever. Rather, he assists people in distress as he meets them and never surrenders to temptation. He’s more of a knight-errant than an adventurer, and maybe too good to be true.

Meanwhile, Ada has received a tremendous stroke of luck in the form of Ruby Thewes, who shows up because a friend has said Ada needs help. Ruby has no refinement, book learning, or soft feelings but knows all there is to know about the soil, the barnyard, and how to read the seasons. I like that Ada’s tutelage comes hard and that her journey is both internal and external, unlike Inman’s, who seems fully formed. Rather, Ada must shed her old life, and this minute wouldn’t be too soon. I also like how she reads to Ruby, her turn to pass on what she knows, and how they disagree as to what happiness is, or whether it’s even worth bothering about.

Her story moves me more than Inman’s, by far. Ada grows as a character, whereas he doesn’t, and whatever changes he’s gone through, you see them hazily in aftermath rather than in transition. During his odyssey, one physical conflict is much like another, and none stand out for me, either in themselves or what he learns from them. Conversely, her narrative feels more cohesive, and she transforms before your eyes—not without a struggle, which adds to her portrayal. Her obstacles, though daunting, seldom feel ridiculously insurmountable, so she seems more human, less larger-than-life.

Maybe the greatest pleasure of Cold Mountain is the prose, which has been justly celebrated, and which conveys the characters’ physical and emotional realms with vividness and precision. I also admire Frazier’s refusal to sugarcoat human nature, and his depiction of lawless, bloodthirsty, and greedy behavior is both real and appalling. If ever a novel did justice to the brutality Americans visited upon each other during those years, this one does. This is a vision of the Civil War that has rarely, if ever, appeared in fictional form.

Nevertheless, the narrative compromises that vision with a romantic underlay, and Cold Mountain is less satisfying for it. As with Varina, Frazier appears to argue that nobody really wanted secession or believed in the war except for a slim majority who held wealth and power. Somehow, I don’t think that’s how the Civil War lasted that long. But in any case, Frazier’s perspective whitewashes his characters while trivializing the history. ( )
  Novelhistorian | Jan 24, 2023 |
I saw the movie some years ago so I knew what to expect -- a sad story from beginning to end, set in an era was nothing but bleak and sad and full of despair. The book is very well written, although just a bit wordy at times. It will stay on my mind for a while. ( )
  AuntieG0412 | Jan 23, 2023 |
Good Civil War epic. Story of endurance and striving to get home, kind of like the Odyssey. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Set in 1864 near the end of the American Civil War, Inman has been traumatized by his experiences in battle. After being wounded, he deserts his hospital bed to travel home to North Carolina’s Cold Mountain, to reconnect with a woman he met before leaving to join the Confederacy. The woman, Ada Monroe, has led a privileged life, but the war takes its toll, and she is left to fend for herself on her father’s farm. Inman journeys hundreds of miles by foot, encountering an assortment of people and trying to avoid the Confederate Home Guard. Ada transforms her life with help of Ruby, a woman who knows how to work the land. The storyline shifts back and forth between Inman and Ada.

The book is somewhat slow in developing and episodic in nature. The characters are well-developed and believable. I pictured Ruby as a person of mixed-race, though it is not stated directly, and I believe this added to my appreciation of the story. One of the primary strengths is the writing. Frazier has a wonderful way with words in describing the beauty of the natural environment and its impact upon the characters. I enjoyed the setup of the two connected characters struggling with their separate challenges and the way the author portrays their motivations to live when it would be easy to give up.

There are dark and disturbing scenes in this book involving harm to people and animals. The novel is loosely based on the author’s family history. Frazier does a fabulous job of evoking the era –showing the horrible impact of the war, how it tore families apart, and how people longed for a sense of stability. The last quarter of the book is a brilliant piece of writing.

4.5 ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "Very nice read, and nicely recalled by reading online reviews. Many kudo's for this author and his first novel. Soldier returning home to his mountain from the Civil War, where his struggling-to-survive love awaits." ( )
  MGADMJK | Sep 13, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 195 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Frazier has been widely and justly praised for his elegant prose and rich evocations of the natural world. For me, however, the deepest satisfactions of his novel derive from his deft treatment of certain perennially appealing pop archetypes.
 
Cold Mountain is sincerely plausible. It is a solemn fake. You will not hear this from the readers and judges who have helped make Charles Frazier's Civil War tale probably the most popular novel about that period since Gone With the Wind. (Since its publication in June, Cold Mountain has sold more than a million copies; in November, it won the National Book Award.) The book is so professionally archaeological, so competently dug, that one can mistake its surfaces for depth. But it's like a cemetery with no bodies in it. All the records of life are there, the facts and figures and pocket histories, pointing up out of the ground, but what's buried there was never alive.
afegit per Shortride | editaSlate, James Wood (Dec 24, 1997)
 
For a first novelist, in fact for any novelist, Charles Frazier has taken on a daunting task -- and has done extraordinarily well by it.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (12 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Frazier, CharlesAutorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Dallatorre, MarcellaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Dumas, MarieTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Engen, BodilTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Moody, PaulineTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Of, KarinaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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It is difficult to believe in the dreadful but quiet war of organic beings, going on in the peaceful woods, & smiling fields.
   --Darwin, 1839 journal entry
Men ask the way to Cold Mountain.
Cold Mountain: there's no through trail.
   --Han-shan
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---for Katherine and Annie
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At the first gesture of morning, flies began stirring.
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This is the novel that the movie by the same name is based. Please do not combine the movie or abridged versions with this work.
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The impact of the Civil War on lovers. Inman is not the man he used to be, as wounded in battle he slowly makes his way home to North Carolina. His sweetheart, Ada, too has changed, no longer a flighty belle but a hard-working farm woman. Will love be the same?

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