First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
Originally published in 1997, Charles Frazier’s debut novel, Cold Mountain, sailed to the top of The New York Times best-seller list for sixty-one weeks, won the National Book Award, and went on to sell over four million copies.
The extraordinary story of a soldier’s perilous journey back to his beloved at the end of the Civil War, Cold Mountain is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished land, a place where savagery coexists with splendor and human beings contend with the with the inhuman solitude of the wilderness. Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate solider named Inman decides to walk back t=home to the Blue Ridge mountains and to Ada, the woman he loves. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, the intrepid Ada is trying to revive her father’s derelict farm and learning 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 odyssey – powerful, majestic, moving.
Just after completing William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and its very flowery text, I a next immersing in Charles Frazier’s debut work, Cold Mountain. The former is peppered with some elements of historical fiction but the latter is its full definition. Cold Mountain is a book that has been long sitting on my bookshelf, a similarity it shares with Absalom, Absalom!, hence, their inclusion in my 2020 Beat the Backlist. As a matter of fact, all books I’ve read this month are part of the said list; the other one is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.
What first caught my attention about Cold Mountain is its cover. It does give off that chilling atmosphere. The words Cold and Mountain evoke memories of my hometown; I grew up in the Cordilleran region. The cover’s cold blue color was pleasing to the eye. I honestly bought the book even without reading the synopsis. Or even if I did, I have already forgotten about it.
I finished just two chapters so far today as I was busy completing a book review and watching a Korean variety show. Unlike May, June has been a very slow reading month in general. I was, however, introduced to the story’s two main characters. Inman is a soldier wounded during the Civil War. He got wounded so bad that nobody believed he’d survive. And that includes him.
But life has its own funny ways, as we all know it. Slowly, Inman started healing. I am already interested in what is going to happen next as, from the synopsis, I gleaned that he is going to walk home to the Blue Ridge mountains. I am interested in knowing about the things he learned on the way. It’s going to be rich, or at least I expect it to be, because of the diversity of the groups he met along the way. Plus, this is Civil War America which further adds a rougher contour on the novel’s backdrop. The Blue Ridge Mountains were idyllic enough but the historical context gives an added flavor.
There was very little that I have learned of Ada, the novel’s other main protagonist but that is fine as I will get to learn more about her as I progress into the story. She is Inman’s love interest. The romantic angle is another facet that I am looking forward to. Will it have shades of Gone with the Wind? I expect not really but it does have that atmosphere. The writing is more contemporary America rather than Civil War America, the frame upon which Gone with the Wind was built on.
In a nutshell, there is a lot of things that I am looking forward to. So far, the writing is very easy to follow and comprehend. Must I say it again? It has a very American execution and language although I am barely halfway through it. It is not going to impede in my understanding and appreciation of the story. It rarely does. I am somehow expecting some political or racial twists woven into the novel’s tapestry. Maybe it does. Maybe it does not.
Happy reading everyone! Happy weekend! To my fellow Filipinos, happy independence day! May everyone have a very productive reading weekend.