Literature and War Readalong December 30 2011: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

While I’m busy collecting the titles for next year’s Literature and War Readalong I should not forget to make you aware that there is still one more book on the list for 2011. Initially I had chosen two books on the US Civil War but German Literature Month made me remove The Killer Angels from the list.

This year’s last readalong title is Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. I’ve watched the movie a while back but don’t remember all that much apart from a stunning cinematography. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the novel and especially the friendship between the two women is said to be very compelling so I’m really looking forward to reading it and find out if I will like it or not. For some reason I think it’s a particularly good choice for December.

For those who have no idea what it’s all about and whether or not it’s worth joining here’s the blurb.

Charles Frazier’s debut novel, Cold Mountain, is the story of a very long walk. In the waning months of the Civil War, a wounded Confederate veteran named Inman gets up from his hospital bed and begins the long journey back to his home in the remote hills of North Carolina. Along the way he meets rogues and outlaws, Good Samaritans and vigilantes, people who help and others who hinder, but through it all Inman’s aim is true: his one goal is to return to Cold Mountain and to Ada, the woman he left behind. The object of his affection, meanwhile, has problems of her own. Raised in the rarified air of Charleston society, Ada was brought to the backwoods of Cold Mountain by her father, a preacher who came to the country for his health. Even after her father’s death, Ada remains there, partly to wait for Inman, but partly because she senses her destiny lies not in the city but in the North Carolina Blue Ridge.

36 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong December 30 2011: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

  1. I read this when it came out and loved it. When the film came out, enough time had gone by that I didn’t make any close comparisons, and I loved the film, too. We recently visited the North Carolina section of the Appalachians in November, and I thought of both book and film.

    Didn’t see Cold Mountain, but visited Asheville which has produced a number of interesting people including Thomas Wolfe, O. Henry, and Carl Sandburg. Something about the mountains must spark the creative imagination.

    • Good to know you liked it. I will rewatch the movie as soon as I’ve read the book. It’s an incredible landscape, would be great to see it. I didn’t know about all those poeple coming from there. I’m curious to see how he will evoke it in the book. It was beautifully filmed.

  2. I thought it sounded familiar. Haven’t watched the film.
    Sorry to say I won’t join in as a month of war readalong would find me in a state of despair, but I’ll be reading and commenting.

    • We don’t want you in despair, that’s for sure. I’m soon in for some lighter fare as well as instead of Jane Austen I’m reading Dostoevksy. My December is a bit on the dark side so far.

  3. Looking forward to read your review on this book. I have seen the book in my frequent bookstores, but I can’t join the readalong as I still have too much books on my shelf.

    Wouldn’t it be cool if you review the book here and the movie in your other blog. I am now looking for constant garderner the movie as I am now reading the book.

    • I saw The Constant Gardener and liked it but I liked the book more.
      Thanks, Novroz, I wasn’t even thinking of doing a parallel review what with the war movie watchalong and all but I think I would like to. I’ve not reviewed it so far.

  4. I’m in, but I don’t think I will like the mushy stuff. More combat next readalong! And less depressing plots. This book does not have an unhappy ending, does it? It’s Christmas time, for Christ’s sake!

    • Glad to have you join. I have a feeling it’s not a mushy book but I could be wrong.
      You know there will be less combat next year, right?
      Why is combat not depressing?

      • War is combat. I am fascinated about how humans react under the stress of combat. It brings out the best and worst in men. I am also interested in how different cultures and nationalities are motivated in combat. Strategy and tactics are much more interesting to me than what is happening on the home front (especially after the war).

        If you are going to have twelve war novels, at least six should be about combat or at least soldier life, in my opinion. Books set in a war that have civilian characters should be limited.

        I liked the variety in the last readalong and enjoyed most of them, but none of them were combat novels. I will participate no matter what and greatly appreciate your broadening my horizons. Not in a million years would I have read most of the books on this year’s list. I do not regret any of them although several confirmed my gut feeling that I would not like them. I will not comment on your pulling the only true combat book. LOL

        • I’m glad you participated and “enjoyed” it any way.
          The Things They Carried? That was a bit combat, no? Next year we have Dispatches and one or two others but not a lot of combat that’s for sure but I bought Bomber and am keen on reading it with you only not in January because I’m reading the Savage Detectives. I’m preparing a new page “Literature and War Project” and would like to include themes and then compile the books and people’s reviews according to combat/homefront/point of view etc.
          All the Combat Novels I would have liked to read didn’t qualify because of the length…
          The Ledig (Stalin Front) is still on the list though. I’ll publish it on Tuesday. And I also particicpate in the War Through the Generations.

  5. I really like the story around this book – it was sold to a small publisher and did so fantastically well that the publisher was made up for years and could move up the rungs to the next level of business. So then Frazier wrote a second book and wanted a huge advance for it – he was stolen away from his publisher by one of the big conglomerates. And then the second book was a flop and lost the big company a great deal of money. Talk about swings and roundabouts! And it is a fine parable about greed, I think.

    • That is so true. I had completely forgotten about this but I remember vaguely having heard it when the second book flopped. I don’t even know what else he wrote after this. There was an incredibly hype at the time when it came out, one fo the reasons it took me so long to get to it. I’m looking forward to find out how I and those who read along will like it.

  6. The story looks quite interesting, Caroline! Hope you have a wonderful readalong with the other participants. I will look forward to reading the posts. I saw the movie version of the book when it came out and I remember liking it at that time. Happy Reading!

  7. wonderful choice caroline look forward to your review I read it when it came out and it was one of my favourites for a few years he has a great way of describing scenes ,all the best stu

  8. I read this when it first came out and recall liking it–I also saw the movie, but it has mostly faded from mind now. I do have my copy pulled out for a reread. I’m glad you won’t be discussing it until the end of the month as it is a little longer than the last–hopefully I’ll finish on time this month–and I’ll have my break to look forward to–more reading time! 🙂

    • It is longer than the Böll but much shorter than Morante or Soli. I really learned my lesson. I think it should be a fairly easy read from all I’ve read about it but you never know. I’m glad you are joining.

  9. Caroline: I didn’t join in the War Read-along this year, and I was doubtful for next year, but I’ve been chewing it over. Would I have to read something from a list or may I pick a title I’m interested in?

    • Guy, I have my list as it isn’t a challenge but a read along. But no questins or anything, just free reviews.
      War through the Generations (Anna Diariy of an Eccentric’s and Serena’s challenge) is free, they only pick a war, I will join them this year as it’s WWI and I have more than I can fit (I’ll do an extra post on them) . Maybe I should alter the “rules”. I’ll think about it. Or expand and let different people propose a book.
      From my list I could imagine that you would like to read at least two, the Balchin and Helen Humphreis Coventry. I’ll publish the full list next week. The books are all under 300pages.

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