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Cold Mountain [Paperback]

Charles Frazier
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,190 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immense May 2 2004
The contents of this novel are well represented by that huge, misty landscape on the cover. Cold Mountain seems to come from another era, one where authors weren't forced into the straightjacket of pithy sentences and cheap wit; it's reminiscent of Twain or Robert Penn Warren, huge, sprawling and thoughtful; there's something almost miraculous about it.
Some people may have been dissapointed with the novel because it isn't really about two of the things that it was reported to be about. It isn't pedantic historic fiction, a la 'The Killer Angels,' and not meant to shed light on the Civil War as a histroical phenomenon. It also isn't much as a retelling of the Odyssey. The underlying theme - looking for home and encountering obstacles - is the same, and there may be some resemblances between the obstacles that Ulysses and Inman face, but the heritage isn't noteworthy in any way.
What Cold Mountain does have is an endless depth of innovation in theme and style and character. It manages somehow to shift from a rousing adventure story to a contented and charming chronicle of farm life, to an eerie, sort of Sartrean mediation on life and morality, to an exploration of Southern folklore and small personal history. You can feel the author's talent stretching the bounds of the subject matter sometimes. He wants and has the ability to write about everything, from the greatest person to the smallest, from a gruesome battle to dinner in an inn. It's so eclectic, even, that it begins to approach a fault, but Frazier ties things together nicely using the theme of the war. Early on, Robert E. Lee is criticized for his smug 'It's a good thing war is so terrible; otherwise we might grow to like it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first book for a new author. June 6 2004
By D S H
I had been skeptical of this book for quite awhile. I've owned it since 1999, but hadn't gotten around to reading it until just recently. I suppose being skeptical added to the procrastination.
Boy, am I glad I finally read it. Frazier has put a lot of time and effort into this book, and it shows. He has a very unique style of writing (such his way of writing when a character speaks). Although many of us may not write like Frazier nor have a desire to, it is great to open ourselves up to a different style of writing. Lots of thought is put into every idea in the book. There are many unexpected twists.
Although this wasn't a story which I would normally be ecstatic about, it was definitely a good one. One of the few 'war' books I've actually lost myself in. Frazier's writing is very intriguing and definitely something to experience. It's also the kind of story that doesn't need to be read very quickly and in a short amount of time. Feel free to span this book over a month or more, gives you more time to think about everything in it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars This ain't Homer, but it ain't Bad Jan. 27 2004
By A Customer
Cold Mountain is the kind of pleasant book which one should read if, or when, an easy moderately intelligent entertainment is desired. Charles Frazier's book is less like Homer and more like James Michener -- shorter, with fewer details, and brought up to current sensibilities. Ideally suited for making into a blockbuster movie. IMAGINE THAT!
Written in a slightly elegant, almost poetic tone, the book is not really a story so much as a collection of small vignettes. It has been said that the book is "based on local history and family stories passed down by the author's great great grandfather."
These stories are tenuously connected to a homeward bound Civil War journey made by a Confederate deserter named Inman. The events along the way are mostly dangerous and are more or less interesting with an air of factuality about them. While Inman is having his encounters, his love object, Ada (whom he met about three weeks before going off to war) remains at home on her inherited farm learning to, well, farm; since her preacher father had taught her nothing about crops or animals before he died. Ada is taught farming by her friend Ruby, a forceful and very practical hillbilly. Unlike Inman, Ada changes and grows during the book. Also unlike Inman she never actually faces any real danger. Sure, initially she does not know how to cook or farm, but the food is there to be had. Ada just does not know what to do with it, and would prefer to read books anyway. So, Ruby is quite handy.
Cold Mountain seems almost designed to be inoffensive. So much so, that I wondered if the author was intentionally being "politically correct." All of the bad guys are, in fact, guys -- white guys. Making sure to be fair, some of the bad men are Rebels, others are Yankees.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Anti-war Odyssey Jan. 15 2004
By A Customer
This book is inherently anti-war, en suite to Homer's second epic, The Odyssey, which tells how a soldier (victorious unlike his Civil War counterpart Inman) longs for peace and home after killing for nine years (The first epic, The Iliad). And to acknowledge another reviewer's unqualified remarks classifying the novel as anti-male, I'll expand this thought. I cannot understand how (in the CM scene, which echoes Odysseus' death by the hands of his son Telegonus) shooting a teenage boy would be a mark of manliness, as this review implies. Is it manly to kill? I can think of several famous female killers. That he doesn't kill the boy is consistent with Inman's disgust with senseless violence. A young boy is not a worthy opponent in Inman's estimation - again, a patently anti-war message. That the book is pro-women does not prove it must be anti-male, either. I am impressed that Frazier has successfully addressed the effects of war on the victims who suffer away from the battlefields, and I think this is why he focuses on Ada's life where she must learn to survive without a man because she will eventually lose hers (unlike her Ithacan counterpart Penelope, who ends up remarrying). This said, Cold Mountain is a worthy addition to any one's personal library. I carry graduate degrees in history, philosophy, and literature - and I cannot think of a better mix of these studies within any other book of American contemporary fiction.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold Mountain: A Novel
I really enjoyed Cold Mountain: A Novel. I loved the development of the characters and the wonderful descriptions of the scenery. It highlighted the true casualties of war.
Published 19 months ago by Virginia Nielsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold Mountain
I'm a fan of anything dealing with the south, the (un)Civil War, or anything remotely connected. Cold Mountain is the story of a man's journey in the literal sense as well as a... Read more
Published on July 27 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful !!!!
I read all the time....and go through all kinds of some, hate some, am bored by others. Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by J. Viers
4.0 out of 5 stars The Other Side of the Civil War
An amazing first novel.
The writing is poignant, and highly descriptive. There are some idiosyncracies to adapt to, but this book moves from the normal brass and bravado of... Read more
Published on June 24 2004 by Bart Breen
3.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts of "Cold Mountain"
If I could recommend one book that's perfect to curl up to before going to sleep it would be John Frazier's "Cold Mountain". Read more
Published on May 17 2004 by Nicole
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain is an vigorous tell about a soldier finding his way home, and a women finding other meanings in life other than having everybody do the job for you. Read more
Published on May 14 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Muddled
The author states that he is "copying" Homer's "Odessey." Okay, now that we have determined that the author is humble and does not have any pretensions we can get down to reviewing... Read more
Published on May 1 2004 by S. Annand
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisited
I see there are 1370 other reviews. I'n not sure I can add anything new, except to say I just finished rereading the book after seeing the movie. Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by C. L Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars The ending is very confusing!
This is a SPOILER. Did Inman die or live? The first sentence on page 354 of the hardcover edition implies that he lived. It says "Epilogue. October of 1874. Read more
Published on March 31 2004 by Donald R. Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Mixed rating.....
I give the book as a whole 5 stars...however, for once, the publishing company should have gone with a professional reader.. Read more
Published on March 18 2004 by Norm Sauceman
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