Longing, Hope, Despair: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Cold MountainCold Mountain by Charles Frazier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book on a very bad day. I was overwhelmed with our situation—the layoff, the uncertainty, along with the usual doubts about how I was doing as a mother—and I ran off after dinner. I left the house on foot and walked downtown to the library, my safe haven always, no matter where I live.

On the shelves outside the library shop, I found a copy of Cold Mountain. I’d watched the movie with mixed feelings, but the “National Book Award Winner” sticker on the cover won me over. I bought the book and walked back home to my family.

It’s taken me more than a month to finally finish reading the book, what with life intervening and all. But in the end, it seems a very apt book to have picked up in that moment.

In a way, this book is about life. It’s about the quest from ease to hardship then back towards ease when you know what you’ve lost seeking hardship. Without the hardship, you wouldn’t have known what you were missing. But the hardship itself makes it impossible to live the ease when you return. And of course, there’s no ease in the end. Only death.

Wow, that was a dreary review. But really, I found the book amazing. Frazier’s style was conversational in the mountain-speak sense. He wrote eloquently about one of my favorite parts of the world, the mountains of North Carolina. I have an affinity towards this area. It’s one of the few places I’ve been that immediately felt like home to me (and still does). I related to the draw that Inman felt towards that blue and rolling landscape.

It’s unlikely I will ever have the opportunity to live there.

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