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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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Book by Frazier, Charles

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE Read...Tips to Conquering "Cold Mountain" July 25 2003
I consider myself a pretty sophisticated reader. But I share many of the same sentiments others have about the titanic struggle to conquer "Cold Mountain."
"Cold Mountain" has two primary stories. The first is about a wounded Civil War deserter named Inman who spends much of his time wandering home, facing obstacles to return to a beloved woman he hasn't seen in years. The second is about this beloved Ada and her friend Ruby, who transform the land upon which they live into a self-sufficient farm. Flashbacks recall things as they were between Inman and Ada before the war. These memories drive Inman home. Will he make it? If he does, will Ada remember? If she remembers, will she return his love? If these parallel stories intersect, will there be a good payoff?
I wish what I've described was as simple as the book. "Cold Mountain" reads like a reflective diary with microscopic details that do little to drive this plot quickly forward. Worse, UNLIKE a diary, it's told in the third person. It's not, "I thought this" or "I did that." It's "Inman thought this" and "Ada felt that." Yet this isn't a dumb book. Unconventional and ambitious, yes, but trash this isn't.
But who wants to read something that feels like work? I wondered, "why am I torturing myself?" Just to prove I can do it because it won a big-time award? Just to be a pseudo-intellectual hot-shot? Of course I don't want an easy, dumbed-down read, but I don't want a biology, geology or botany lesson on every page. Yet I finished "Cold Mountain."
So why am I still giving it four stars?
First, some tips about how I got through it.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisited April 8 2004
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. And Yes, Nicole Kidman was too perfectly beautiful to be believable in that place and those times. I had first read "Cold Mountain" when it initially came out, and in reading my review I saw that I had thought the characters rather shallow, and the Frazier was more concerned with the details of everyday life at that time than he was in creating life-like people. In that opinion, I have changed my mind. Someone once said "Life is in the details" and Frazier knew it. However, in another, I have not. I thought then, and I think now, that the ending was a cheap shot. As if the author didn't know where to go or what to do. But it was truly a beautifully written novel, and many passages are memorable. In the first read, I complained that Inman's story was nothing more than a road trip. I have since been on such a journey myself, and can now appreciate such a trip more. It is composed of the people you meet, as was Inman's. Homer was the first to recognize that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PERFECT READING Dec 22 2003
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
One would be hard pressed to think of any words of praise that have not already been heaped upon Charles Frazier's Civil War masterpiece "Cold Mountain." Winner of the National Book Award, it has been called "Magnificent," "Impressive and enthralling," "Magnetic." These views were shared by millions of readers who bought the book and eagerly shared it with friends.
Fortunately, my task is not to amplify the accolades that "Cold Mountain" has already received but to focus on the unabridged audio version read by the author. Many have called Mr. Frazier a born storyteller, that appellation proves true in his sometimes intense, always understanding reading.
Born in Asheville, North Carolina, he brings appropriate voice to the saga of Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier who leaves his regiment to begin a trek home to Ada, the woman he loves, and a farm on Cold Mountain.
Set against a backdrop of the last days of the Civil War and the changes that will bring much drama is found in the people Inman meets along the way and in his relationship to the ravaged land he encounters.
The recent release of "Cold Mountain" as a major motion picture starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renee Zellweger will undoubtedly win this popular novel countless new fans.
Yet a very special pleasure is to be found in listening to the story read by its author. Mr. Frazier has said in an interview that Inman is based upon his great great uncle and his great grandfather, both of whom were soldiers in the Civil War. In effect, this is a family story beautifully imagined and related.
Charles Frazier is the one man who could write it; he is the one man to give it voice.
- Gail Cooke
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tasty read with a slightly bitter aftertaste Oct. 6 1997
I have only one real complaint about Charles Frazier's book, Cold Mountain.
For me, the language of the book is the star. Frazier gives his characters and his narrator (what I assume to be) a lexicon authentic to mid-19th century, rural North Carolina. It was entertaining to read expressions that one would not hear today, and yet to find them not totally unfamiliar. The intertwined stories were interesting enough, with Inman's being a tale of determination in the face of danger and barely-averted disasters, and Ada's and Ruby's more a journal of self-reliance and self-discovery. The violence of Inman's journey is balanced by the slower paced struggle by the women against, ultimately, the same enemy.

My complaint is only about the final pages of the book. The reader spends 350+ pages wondering if Inman and Ada will ever get together and, if so, will the evil of the times, personified in the cruel Home Guard, allow their reunion to be happy and long-lived. When the smoke from this inevitable confrontation clears, the outcome is uncertain and our questions unanswered. Thank goodness for the epilogue! Frazier takes us ten years into the future presumably to tie up the loose ends of his captivating tale. However, he is deliberately slightly vague about what has happened to Inman. The reader can piece together the obvious clues and decide whether all is well or not, but the fact that the Frazier is only slightly ambiguous (Inman's name is never used) is what is troublesome to me. It left an aftertaste of false "artsy-ness," as if to use this device would turn his novel into "literature." It was unnecessary and unsatisfying.

All in all, though, the book is well worth the time invested by the reader. I look forward to Charles Frazier's next offering, as long as, in the meantime, he does not take up dressing in period garb and issue an album of himself playing fiddle ballads of the Civil War.
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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 17 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first book for a new author.
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. Read more
Published on June 6 2004 by D S H
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Immense
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... Read more
Published on May 2 2004 by Henry Platte
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 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
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