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Cold Mountain Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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The hero of Charles Frazier's beautifully written and deeply-imagined first novel is Inman, a disillusioned Confederate soldier who has failed to die as expected after being seriously wounded in battle during the last days of the Civil War. Rather than waiting to be redeployed to the front, the soul-sick Inman deserts, and embarks on a dangerous and lonely odyssey through the devastated South, heading home to North Carolina, and seeking only to be reunited with his beloved, Ada, who has herself been struggling to maintain the family farm she inherited. Cold Mountain is an unforgettable addition to the literature of one of the most important and transformational periods in American history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
A Civil War soldier and a lonely woman embark on parallel journeys of danger and discovery. Environment, events, and the empathy of others transform the protagonists spiritually as well as physically.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It gives a perspective on the Civil War from people not usually represented in history books.
Very introspective, much like Malick's The Thin Red Line.
Highly undervalued storytelling perspective.
Not your every day easy read though. You have to take time, rereading sentences to truly grasp what's going on in Ada and Inman's world.
But that's exactly what needs to happen.
The book tells the story of three main characters:
Inman is a soldier for the South during the civil war. When the book begins Inman is recovering from a serious injury, knowing that as soon as he's healed he'll be sent right back into the fray. Instead he chooses to desert, make his way back to his home on Cold Mountain and to the woman he loves. His journey is not only the dangerous journey of a deserter through a war-torn country, it's an internal journey from a damaged, cynical, guilt-ridden soldier to a healed and hopeful man.
Ada is the pampered, intellectual daughter of a wealthy minister. When her father passes away at the beginning of the book Ada is left with no family, no friends, no money, and no motivation. Not even realizing she's on the brink of starvation, her journey begins with the arrival of Ruby, who takes the neglected farm (and neglected woman) in hand, teaching her not only how to survive, but also how to see and love the natural world around her.
Ruby is an abandoned, motherless girl who has learned to survive on her own against all odds. While she seems to scorn any non-practical activity, her heart can't help but be stirred by the aesthetic and intellectual beauty she comes to learn from Ada.
The stories of all three characters, because they are set against the backdrop of a desperate and terrible war, are fraught with danger. The feeling of vulnerability imbues each and every page of the novel. I think this is an important part of the story and the reading experience, but it meant that I had to put the book down every few chapters just to recover from the concern and stress building up with each page I read. Frazier's prose is beautiful; his descriptions of the natural world--while somewhat lengthy at times--will take your breath away. The stories of the three characters--which move from present to past and back to present--are woven together beautifully, chapter by chapter, until you feel you know each character inside and out, and are as invested in their futures as you are in your own.
We read this book as part of a segment on The Odyssey for my "Rediscovering the Classics" class. (We read Homer's Odyssey first, then Atwood's Penelopiad, then Cold Mountain.) Although the correlation between Homer's work and Frazier's novel is glancing at best, I believe they did compliment each other when read side by side, if for no other reason than it made me consider events in Cold Mountain in a stronger and more meaningful light than I might have otherwise. And as with any book, my reading of Cold Mountain definitely benefited from being able to discuss it with others. Although I can recommend this book under any circumstances, I strongly urge anyone to read it when you'll be able to discuss it with others.
I grew up in this part of the country, with roots in the area that go back to well before the Civil War, and the language rings truer than any I have read elsewhere, whether written by Ron Rash, Cormac McCarthy, or whoever. And Frazier does it without resorting to phonetic spelling. It really does read like it's a story your grandfather is telling you by the fireplace after Sunday dinner. One that was passed down to him from his grandfather. There are so many sort of random details that just feel right. It's the sort of book I wanted to read at my desk with a notebook beside me but that I couldn't bear to read so slowly the first time through. The prose is beautiful by any measure.
Cold Mountain doesn't have a lot of action. It takes its time, really drinking in the place and daily lives of Inman, Ada, and Ruby. The narrative is not strictly chronological, frequently jumping back and forth between present events, Ada coming to Cold Mountain, Inman and Ada's budding romance in the lead up to the war, and so on. Inman and Ada's views on each other, the war, and life in general are considerably confused, something Frazier explores in depth and with great nuance.
Frazier's story well embodies the mountain ethos. Inman, Ada, and Ruby, each in many ways an ideal of the ethos, are all ruggedly individualistic. They suffer from their unwillingness to ask for help. But their mistrust of others is often well founded. Their success owes entirely to their own sweat and toil and the occasional unasked for assistance of a few kind souls. The government, Federal or Confederate, is absentee at best and actively destructive at worst. It is a bittersweet book; fitting, for that is as life in rural, southern Appalachia has always been.