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  Library Journal Review

This monumental novel is set at the end of the Civil War and follows the journey of a wounded Confederate soldier named Inman as he returns home. Interwoven is the story of Ada, the woman he loves. Ada, who was raised in genteel society, cannot cope with the rigors of war until a woman called Ruby arrives to help her. Inman comes across memorable characters like the goatwoman, who lives off the secret herbs in the woods and Sara, a woman stranded with an infant who is assaulted by Yankee soldiers whom Inman later kills. After a long, threatening journey, Inman finally arrives home to Ada, "ravaged, worn ragged and wary and thin." His momentary homecoming, however, comes to a tragic end. A remarkable effort that opens up a historical past that will enrich readers not only with its story but with its strong characters. Highly recommended for all collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/97.]‘David A. Beronä, Univ. of New England, Biddeford, Me. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

The Civil War's last months are the setting for this first novel by Frazier, erstwhile college teacher and author of travel books and stories. Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, leaves the hospital before his gashed neck heals enough to get him sent back to war. Still weak, he heads for the mountains, where a minister's daughter named Ada is his objective. Inman's return could hardly be timelier for the Charleston-raised Ada: her father has died, and she finds she knows little about operating a farm. Frazier blends the story of Inman's journey with that of Ada's efforts, with the help of a drifter named Ruby, to wring a subsistence living from the neglected land; in the background are the yelping dogs of war (most dramatically, gangs chasing Confederate deserters like Inman), as well as hints of changes the end of war will bring. Cold Mountain, based on a Frazier family story, is a satisfying read, though for some readers elements of the story (e.g., Ada's dependence) are anachronistic. --Mary Carroll

  Kirkus Review

A grim story about a tough, resourceful Southern family in the Civil War is somewhat submerged by the weight of lyrical detail piled on the tale, and by the slow pace of the telling. There's no doubt that Frazier can write; the problem is that he stops so often to savor the sheer pleasure of the act of writing in this debut effort. Inman, seeing that the end of the war is near, decides to leave his regiment and go back home to Ada, the bright, stubborn woman he loves. His adventures traversing a chaotic, impoverished land, Ada's struggles to preserve her father's farm, and the harsh, often powerful tales of the rough-hewn individuals they encounter take up most of the narrative. The tragic climax is convincing but somewhat rushed, given the many dilatory scenes that have preceded it. Frazier has Cormac McCarthy's gift for rendering the pitch and tang of regional speech, and for catching some of the true oddity of human nature, but he doesn't yet possess McCarthy's ferocious focus. A promising but overlong, uneven debut. (First printing of 40,000; author tour)
Summary
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE One of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Charles Frazier'sCold Mountainis a masterpiece that is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished American 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 there 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 Mountainasserts itself as an authentic AmericanOdyssey--hugely powerful, majestically lovely, and keenly moving.
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