National Book Award, Fiction, 1997One of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain is a masterpiece that is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished America in all its savagery, solitude, and splendor.
Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, Inman, a Confederate soldier, decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and to Ada, the woman he loved three years before. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, Ada is trying to revive her father's derelict farm and learn to survive in a world where the old certainties have been swept away. As it interweaves their stories, Cold Mountain asserts itself as an authentic American Odyssey: hugely powerful, majestically lovely, and keenly moving.
Winner of the 1997 National Book Award.
©1997 Charles Frazier; (P)1998 Random House, Inc., Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Charles Frazier delivers a soulful reading of his novel....His writing reveals the fluidity of a storyteller, and the audiobook becomes a natural extension of his skill." (AudioFile)
"Charles Frazier has taken on a daunting task, and has done extraordinarily well by it....A Whitmanesque foray into America; into its hugeness, its freshness, its scope and its soul. Such a memorable book." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A rare and extraordinary book....Heart-stopping....Spellbinding." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Novelists are never in short supply. Natural-born storytellers come along only rarely. Charles Frazier joins the ranks of that elite cadre on the first page of his astonishing debut." (Newsweek)
Great book. Dismal reading. In fact, the worst _reading_ of a book I've heard. Some good friend should have told Charles Frazier to stick to writing and let a professional narrator do the reading. I gave it three stars as a compromise. The text gets five stars; the reading one. If listening is your only way to get to this book, then have at it, but expect your reaction to be conflicted.
It's a hard lesson learned, but this is why some write and others read. This book was unlistenable at parts. Yet, I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book, but couldn't care less about the characters. I haven't seen the movie, but can't even begin to think how they put this into a script. It was plodding, long and the narrative just never ended. A tree description could take minutes...actual minutes.
I did not like the story. There was no sense of hope being carried through with the hard lives these characters led. For what should have been a beautiful love story, a heartwarming ending ...there was no sense of that at all. The narration, in my opinion, was no help or hindrance. And I love Civil War stories!!
I bought Cold Mountain partly because my daughter recommended it, but
partly because I was intrigued at the wide difference in Audible reviews. Glowing praise on the one hand was countered by damning criticism on the other, particularly concerning the narration.
My conclusion: the critics are right. This is an awful audio book, really *awful*. Coming through the ninth-grade reading style are beautiful descriptions of the south, the war, and warm country life. But I could rarely stay focussed before the narrator's grim monotone hauled me back to reality.
True enough, as one reviewer suggested, the author's southern accent helps carry his story. But the effect is *completely* destroyed by the fact that his reading is as unskilled as his writing is skilled. Surely a professional reader/actor from the south could have been found instead.
Most songwriters do not sing; most playwrights do not direct or act. Why did anyone think that this man was the right person to read? Such a shame.
Previous readers seem to have either loved or hated this book, and the reading by the author is a major factor in these opinions. I loved the story and how Charles Frazier spun the characters and the plot, I could "see" the mountains and the farm, the characters were very real with true voices.
Did I like Frazier's reading? Eventually yes. I had to get over the lack of variety in the characters' voices that would tell me who is speaking. I had to get used to his habit of reading as if there were no periods between sentences, even when the speaker changed. But his voice is a pleasant one to listen to, and his words were remarkable. Ultimately the strength of what he wrote triumphed over how he read it.
It's hard to imagine a better way of experiencing this book than by listening to Charles Frasier narrate it. Some reviewers have complained that he reads without emphasis, which is true, but with this book that is absolutely appropriate. There are also complaints that he mispronounces words, which simply reveals a lack of awareness of regional speech variations. If you prefer action to introspection, this book and this narration are probably not for you. The point of this book is the journey - both Inman's and Ada's - rather than the destination, and the pace is slow. The language is poetry, and Charles Frasier's narration allows us to experience it fully.
I'm not usually one to watch the film first, however, in my defence, I had never planned on reading the book. In the end I enjoyed the film so much I couldn't wait to read the book as I expected it be even more enjoyable. Not the case. The film was very faithful to the overall story and even more dramatic and (dare I say, romantic) than the book was. While I didn't dislike the book, reading it didn't add anything to my overall experience of the film. This is one instance where watching the film was actually more enjoyable.
i am sure this is a very good book, but it is very hard to listen too.
The authors reads his own book, and it is very hard to follow. There are reasons that people are hired to read books. this is one time it should
have happened. My suggestion is to buy the book and read it yourself.
This is a beautifully written book and a wonderful story. My enjoyment of this audio version was lessened significantly by the author's monotone voice. I hope the audiobook might be reissued at some point with another reader.
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