Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Title: Cold Mountain
Author: Charles Frazier
ISBN: 0375700757
Publisher: Vintage/1998
Pages: 449/Trade Paperback
Rating: 5/5

What led you to pick up this book?

One of my blogger friends sent it to me to read for the Southern Challenge. I had not read it then. It took me a while to pick this book but once I started, I did not stop until I finished it.

Plot summary:

Inman is an injured soldier who is disillusioned with the war after fighting in Petersburgh. One day he simply walks out of the hospital he is in, to go to the woman he loves who lives in Blue Ridge Mountains. Meanwhile Ada is trying to survive in the farm left to her by her impractical father. She does not know how to cope up. And help comes in the form of Ruby who refuses to be a servant. Both Ada and Inman's story goes parallel and the highlight is when they finally meet. Inmam meets various kinds of people on his way, prostitutes, slaves, marauders, witches, hunters and many who are so very kind. Despite its starkness and brutality, the novel can be acclaimed as a great piece of work.

What did you like most about the book?

I loved the practical Ruby very much who does not let Ada wallow in self pity. She makes sure that Ada can survive in any circumstances.

What did you think of the writing style?

Frazier's prose is mesmeric. It is almost like poetry at places. I was completely into it. It enthralled me.

What did you think of the main character?

Inmam is not a man of many words. He know what he is doing. Like any soldier, he keeps up his spirit at every point. He does not give in to despair. He knows he has to go to Ada and he does so..

How do you think he feels?

He feels strongly about Ada. He hates the war. He is compassionate too, for the weakest of the weaks. He is ever helpul.

What strengths does Ada has that help her cope?

Initially, Ada has no clue how to cope in the derelict farm after her father dies leaving her alone. But she does not leave the Blue Mountain. That way, she is a fighter although Ruby helps her to make her strong.

What effect do the people in the book have on one another?

Ada and Ruby make a great pair. They have a no nonsense air about them and are very good friends for eah other.

Any other particularly interesting characters?

Ruby's father, Stobred, who is a real bastard but still redeems himself somewhat.

What do you think of the ending?

The ending brought about mixed feelings. However, under the cirumstances, it was the best ending. Real life does not have fairy tale endings.

Do you recommend this book?

Yes, I recommend this book for all those who like serious reading. It is not a feel good book. It is stark, brutal, hitting you on the guts kind of book. The sombre feelings lasts long after one finishes it. The writing is very good and that is one good reason to read it. It also has a timeless feel to it. A classic in the making. It somewhat made me remind of The Road by Cormac McCarthy.