Oct 12, 2014

Cold Mountain

by Charles Frazier

Set in the closing of the Civil War, this is the story of two people, both trying to survive dismal times and remake their lives. Inman is a seriously injured soldier who decides to simply walk out of the hospital, head home and find his pre-war sweetheart. Disgusted with all the waste and killing he has seen and participated in. He walks miles and miles through ruined land, giving help when he can to those who need it, eluding scouts combing the countryside for deserting soldiers, running into all sorts of people, sometimes hearing and relating their stories alongside his own. The alternate storyline is that of his girl Ada, who struggles to pull her father's farm back into working order after his death. She was never taught any practical skills (loved books and art, but that would not feed her) and is floundering when another young woman Ruby shows up on her doorstep offering to assist and teach in return for a partnership- not as a hired hand or slave, but eventually a friend. Piece by piece you learn the way of these characters' lives, where they have been and where they hope to go, how they scratch a living from every day and plan for a brighter future amid violence and decay. There are some really disgusting people in here, and others who shine when they have no reason to. Ruby teaches Ada some woodslore and how to work with the land. I don't know how accurate the depiction is of what times were like during the Civil War, but it seemed a vivid and realistic picture to me. I never gave this book much thought before, seeing its blue spine on my shelf so long, but now I would like to read another by this author. Perhaps Thirteen Moons...

Rating: 3/5      356 pages, 1997

more opinions:
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