Book Review: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

He finally made it!  Inman came home!  (See previous post about Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.)

Our book club met last night and we were all relieved that Inman finally walked his way, over hill and dale, braving the elements, hunger, danger, enemies, the Federals, the Guard,–and arrived safely back home in North Carolina, at Cold Mountain.

Pour le plupart, for the most part, the group liked the book.  Now, admittedly, you had to be a mite patient with all of the nature descriptions—birds, trees, plants, flora, fauna –but that is exactly what some members liked best.  And we found out that the author, Charles Frazier spent almost seven years doing flora-fauna research to write this book.  We’re not just talking ferns here—but also gutting hogs and chickens as well as the discernment of medicinal herbs.  You’ll be a true mountain man by the time you’ve digested this book!

The author’s way of writing was always right on target with touching, beautiful almost lyrical phrases on every page.  Several members had tagged passages to read aloud.

page 150: Ada watches a heron at a creekbed. “When she looked up, the bird was staring at her as at someone met long ago, dimly registered in memory . . .”  And when he flies away— “Then the heron slowly opened his wings.  The process was carried out as if it were a matter of hinges and levers, cranks and pulleys.”

And Inman meets Sara, a war widow with a mewling infant, little cabin scrubbed clean,  poverty written into every floorboard–“what a lonely thin edge of life she occupied.”

And on a more uplifting note, this quote on page 271 when Ada is studying the night sky–the stars “thorns of light”.   Thorns of light!  Love it.

Everyone agreed there was superb character and plot development in this book–occasional twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.  And we had a good discussion of favorite characters, and of the Civil War in general.

The anti-war underlying theme was also recognized

All in all, the book has several things to recommend it as a book discussion choice for your own book club.   A sideline issue might be —which was better? the movie or the book?

Next month’s book is Old School by Tobias Wolff.

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