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Cold Mountain

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  202,420 Ratings  ·  5,222 Reviews
Cold Mountain is a novel about a soldier’s perilous journey back to his beloved near the Civil War's end. At once a love story & a harrowing account of one man’s long walk home, Cold Mountain introduces a new talent in American literature.

Based on local history & family stories passed down by Frazier’s great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a wounded
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Paperback, 356 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 1997)
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Kurt Cold Mountain, North Carolina. It's in the Appalachian Mountains. Today, it's in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area.
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Amanda
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kick-ass, blog
Cold Mountain is quite possibly the most beautiful book that I've ever read. It's not for the faint of heart, however, as it's time consuming and requires a great deal of patience as Frazier takes his time with his descriptions of the landscape and the people as Inman, a soldier broken in spirit by the futility and waste of the Civil War, decides to walk home to Ada and his beloved Cold Mountain. That is not to say that Frazier wastes the reader's time or goes off on unnecessary tangents (althou ...more
Kevin Ansbro
"Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier; I have seen worse sights than this."
—Homer, The Odyssey


Having recently read The Odyssey, I was prompted by Goodreads friend, @JulieGrippo, to go on this journey - namely, Homer’s epic voyage transposed to the terrain of 19th-century North America.

Inman (not as heroic as Odysseus), an army deserter wounded in the American Civil War, faces a treacherous, interminable journey home to his love, Ada (i.e. Odysseus’ Penelope).

You can see from my five-star
...more
Luthien
Jun 25, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Considering the widespread acclaim this book and its subsequent film adaptation have received, I'm reluctant to write a negative review. Still, a dissenting opinion at least makes for an interesting read.

This was absolutely the most boring book I have ever read. It took me about a year to finish it, because every time I tried to pick it up, day or night, I was asleep in minutes. Though the descriptions of the picturesque mountainous landscape are often beautiful, I fail to see the point. I can'
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Will Byrnes
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Did not like it. Although it has an interesting structure and pretext, it is so intellectualized that it is hard to care about the characters at all. It seems like Frazier is more interested in showing off than in writing a gripping work of fiction.
Cecily
How long would you wait for your lover, if you knew not whether they were alive, and you yourself had changed almost beyond recognition?

This is a beautiful, understated, unsentimental Odyssey of quiet longing, endurance, and transformation.

"This journey will be the axle of my life."
Inman's journey is across hundreds of dangerous miles, fleeing war and trying to get to where his love lives, four years after they parted.

"She had made her way to a place where an entirely other order prevailed fro
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Algernon
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

The best way I could find to describe the book is the American Civil War version of the Odyssey, with Inman as the wandering hero trying to find his way back home to the North Carolina Appallachians, and Ada as his Penelope tending the home fires. This is an oversimplification, but the epic scope is there, the perilous journey, the oddball characters met on the road, the mystical elements of prophecy, cursed fate, faithful love. Additional major themes tackled are the brutality and senselessness
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Julio Genao
Aug 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
i nearly plucked my own eyes from my skull in frustration.

description

the dullity was like another character in the story, grimly tugging at my sleeve to expound at length on the state of his bunion, and what it meant in relation to the larger struggle of humanity to achieve some fool thing or another.

very, very slowly.
Heidi
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who know their classics
You've probably seen the movie made from this book.

It was a fine movie. It won Oscars.

But it cannot begin to capture the truly spectacular parts of this story because they are not the surface level narratives that make it onto the big screen.

Before you can truly appreciate the quality of this book, you need to be familiar with at least Homer's Odyssey, Dante's Inferno, and parts of the Bible. You need to be on guard for a depth of symbolism and complexity of foreshadowing and allusion that will
...more
Ali
Oct 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Is it long? Yes. Does it sometimes take entire paragraphs or chapters to describe the scope of the landscape? Yes. Is it entirely worth it? Yes. This book is best described as an epic...for those that felt it was too long or boring, have you ever read The Odyssey? The comparison is made for a reason. This is not a book you take to the beach and read on vacation...this is a book you pick up on a rainy day when you call in sick in the middle of the week. This is a book that becomes like a return t ...more
Amanda
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Stunning! This book is the perfect example of timing being everything. I tried to read this book when it was first released and I don't think I got passed the first 25 pages. I tried again after I saw the movie with the same outcome. Fast forward to 2016, the book obviously hasns't changed but I am a completely different reader and I LOVED this book. I'm pretty generous with 5 star reviews but I don't add many books to my favorites shelf which is where this one ended up. It is a slow burn and yo ...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a superb chronicle of a wayward soldier seeking escape from the Civil War. Frazier masterfully evokes the time period through his vivid prose of characters and the natural environment. The journey of Inman and this beautiful book still dwell in my thoughts 16 years later.
John
Feb 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book far exceeded my expectations. It was grim and beautiful. It's a historical novel that brings you to the time and place with such an easy touch...no awkward passages setting the stage, just outstanding storytelling. The characters are well developed and authentic in their complexity. Also, it rang true with my experience of life, meaning that not everything ended satisfyingly for the characters. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
G
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to G by: Joe Hatcher
This is in my estimation one of the masterpieces of American fiction. I am surprised to be saying this, because I read it after I'd seen the film, and my expectations were not particularly high. Cold Mountain is the Odyssey retold in many respects not the least of which is its depiction of the horrors of violent expeditions far from home and the yet worse horrors of violence at home. It is a story of the Civil War as it affected those who were marginal to the state and had least to gain from the ...more
Tyler
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I really shouldn't like this book as much as I do. A historical romance? Come on.

Frazier's prose is in the tradition of that poetic backwoods style that you might find in some Faulkner or in the films of Terrence Malick and David Gordon Green. Definitely the product of a learned man trying to sound like he's from the sticks, equal parts Old Testament fire-and-brimstone and rootsy colloquialism. His story is ambitious in its attempts to convey feelings of the grandeur of America, smouldering pas
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Carol Storm
Mar 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's Gone With The Wind Meets Easy Rider -- with all the phoniest elements of both American classics!

All the old Southern lies are here, chillun. Slavery wasn't so bad. We weren't fighting for slavery. The war was not our fault. Slavery was not our fault. Nothing is ever anyone's fault, except for the damned meddling Yankees who started the war for no reason at all! We are all prisoners of history. We know our darkies . . . and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

But at the same time there are plenty o
...more
Rosamund
May 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
What an absolute abomination. The only thing that saves this from the doom of getting just one star is... well, at present I am even unable to think of that. Actually, I did laugh when Ada got attacked by a rooster. The books lacks a real story, is over-long, and whoever gave Mr Frazier a thesaurus should seriously reconsider their actions, because the excessive descriptions cause the reader to lose the will to live. Moreover: why, oh why, is it compared to The Odyssey? I fail to see how anyone ...more
Kristen
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kristen by: Cindy Bravo
Shelves: high-brow
Just loved this book. I always enjoy books that do a good job of creating atmosphere through descriptive writing. This book is one of the best of that sort. The story itself is enjoyable, but what I liked even more was the detailed description of life in the civil war era. We have the idea from many movies and books that the south in the Civil War was all plantations and cotton, lovely ladies and dashing gentlemen. This south is something that Margaret Mitchell simply did not acknowledge, and it ...more
Cheri
Jun 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
I read this book before the movie was planned (at least to my knowledge), and I loved it from the beginning. It probably isn't the type of book you can read with lots of distraction around you, it requires a quiet setting where you can immerse yourself in the beautiful writing. Set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains the story of the Civil War is told as it relates to the lives of those who live in this rural area, and the devastating effect it has on everyone. However, the story is much more ...more
Mike
Dec 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so many good reviews on this book. Links to some of my favorites at the bottom. There are also a number of reviewers who were bored silly and rated this one low. Cold Mountain is forever 5 Stars for me. The language was magical and captivating, the characters vivid, the South of the late Civil War ominous yet, in places, inviting. This is a book I can read many times. Inman, the wounded Confederate soldier has released himself from further fighting and is walking back to Cold Mountain. ...more
Alison
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ew25best
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin
Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The best experience I ever had reading a book. I recommend reading it in the winter, but whatever. The winter I read it was the coldest & saddest winter I have ever experienced. The book, taking place in the late 1800's, reminded me that some things cannot ever change with the times: Struggle. Heartbreak. Love. Adversity. Fear. Uncertainty. The human inclination to survive. To name a few. That said, though, this was not a depressing book. Somehow, it gave me an unexpected and strange kind of ...more
Cher
Sep 27, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - It was really good.

Much like on the movie screen, Ruby's character stole every scene in the book. I enjoyed how her characterization was so vivid and memorable and also appreciated the great atmospheric quality this novel held.

Normally the author narrating their own book really adds an extra spark to the story, but in this case, I wish the publisher would have utilized a professional narrator. Had I read this one traditionally instead of listening to it, it may have resulted in a hig
...more
John
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ppl who wish to feel like they are outside.
Shelves: civil-war
I liked that this is a book to be read slowly. Having seen the movie first and having lived in wet country fleshed out the visuals for me. I found myself thinking of Faulkner at times. Not the convoluted story lines but the discriptive nature of the narrative. Of Charles Sutpen and Inman coming from the same culture. And still we see a few remnant elements of the South unwilling to put the War behind.

Perhaps Inman's remaining hold on sanity is Ada. As his days of magnetic wandering stretch innum
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Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Melancholic, bleak and stunningly violent, the book narrates many stories of bitter souls living grim lives and towards the end(view spoiler). Frazier’s beautiful prose gives the reader a perfect sense of place and time. I loved this book!

Favourite quotes:

The woman looked as if she thought Inman spoke the greatest foolishness she had ever heard. She pointed her pipe stem at him and said, You listen. Marrying a woman for her beauty make
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Pamela Mclaren
Ever wonder who it was to live in a remote countryside during the Civil War? How it was to be a solder for the confederacy when your side seemed to be losing? This is one such scenario of what it was like. In this book you get to see the war from both sides: Inman, a young man from Cold Mountain, goes off to fight for probably glory but instead he is wounded and left to die on the battlefield. Only he doesn't die and is eventually picked up and taken to a field hospital then sent on to a regular ...more
Cathy
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
When I was thinking of what to say about The Namesake, which I liked alot, I started thinking that maybe we need an asterisk for books that are truly special to us, that knock our socks off. I know that one reason why some books do that has to do with a certain time in our lives. Books that did that to me in the past, like the Alexandria Quartet, I haven't looked at again since I was in my 20's. Others I return to again and again. Cold Mountain is one of those. (Along with Bel Canto, The Fountai ...more
Laura
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing and storytelling. The writing is very detailed but it is so worth taking your time with this one.
Arun Divakar
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Nature has always occupied the top slot in my sense of aesthetics. The sun shining down on the foliage, a sky overcast with clouds with a breeze blowing all the while, the morning orchestra of birds & insects and many more such sights & sounds have in them the power to make me fall in love with nature again & again. This book proved special to me for this same reason for it was a long love letter to nature. Written in the back drop of the American Civil War and taking its cues from H ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Camie
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an award winning modern classic skillfully written by Charles Frazier who as a native of the Carolina Mountains provides rich detail of the terrain. It's the story of Inman a wounded soldier who escapes from a field hospital and walks away from the Civil war, through the war torn and soon to be defeated South to return to Cold Mountain and Ada his sweetheart. Meanwhile Ada and Ruby a feisty drifter try to revive her father's farm which has gone to ruin after his death.
An underlying them
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On the Southern L...: * Final Impressions: Cold Mountain: March 2018 19 35 Apr 04, 2018 03:43PM  
On the Southern L...: * Initial Impressions: Cold Mountain: March 2018 23 37 Mar 29, 2018 06:48PM  
Blast from the Past: January Book- Cold Mountain 2 32 Jan 18, 2018 10:36AM  
Our Shared Experi...: January 2017 Discussion 1 1 Jun 10, 2017 04:54AM  
1000 Books Before...: Cold Mountain 1 6 Feb 18, 2017 01:39PM  
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902 followers
Charles Frazier is an award-winning author of American historical fiction. His literary corpus, to date, is comprised of three New York Times best selling novels: Nightwoods (2011), Thirteen Moons (2006), and Cold Mountain (1997) - winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.


Librarian Note: There are multiple authors in the goodreads database with this name. more info here.
“She fit her head under his chin, and he could feel her weight settle into him. He held her tight and words spilled out of him without prior composition. And this time he made no effort to clamp them off. He told her about the first time he had looked on the back of her neck as she sat in the church pew. Of the feeling that had never let go of him since. He talked to her of the great waste of years between then and now. A long time gone. And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry your scars with you. Nevertheless, over all those wasted years, he had held in his mind the wish to kiss her on the back of her neck, and now he had done it. There was a redemption of some kind, he believed, in such complete fulfillment of a desire so long deferred.” 333 likes
“He tried to name which of the deadly seven might apply, and when he failed he decided to append an eighth, regret.” 164 likes
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