COLD MOUNTAIN The story of 'Cold Mountain' is a best selling novel and it is the first book written by Charles Frazier. It took years of research before he could write this novel. The plot of Cold Mountain is really and old idea, in fact it is an ancient one. The plot is the same as the one in an ancient book by Homer. The story I am referring to is 'The Odyssey'.
The Odyssey is a book about a wounded soldier trying to find his way back home and his sweetheart, Penelope that is waiting for his return. Cold Mountain is the story of a wounded Confederate soldier that was wounded, deserts, and begins a journey back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Cold Mountain. The plot of the book has two parallel stories. The first part of the plot is about a man named Inman. Inman is a Confederate soldier that is wounded in Virginia and spends several months in a hospital.
After sneaking out of the hospital, he starts on his journey back home to his sweetheart, Ada. His odyssey is his long journey back to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. What makes is journey so interesting is the many people he comes in contact with along the way. Some of the people Inman comes in contact with are kind to him. They give him a place to stay and sometimes even a hot meal. Some of the other characters aren't so kind to him.
The Civil War is still raging on and the Home guard is constantly hunting for deserters like him. There are many perils along the way and several times, Inman almost loses his life. The second part of the plot in this story is about Inman's sweetheart, Ada. Ada has a much different odyssey than Inman, but just as perilous.
She is learning about herself, friendship, and survival. In the beginning, Ada is trying to cope with the death of her father. Her father, a preacher, bought her to the mountains and kept her sheltered from the ways of the world. While he tried to give her a good life, he never prepared he for the real world, as you will see later.
Ada was raised in Charleston, South Carolina. She was raised in an aristocratic society where work was never experienced and money took care of everything. Ada had no idea how to live from day to day on a farm. Which is where she was stranded after her father died. During the war, all the able bodied men were gone to fight and her hired help had moved away months earlier. To make matters worse, she discovers that her father's death had left her penniless.
Ada's desperation all changed when she takes Ruby into her home. Ruby is a young but wise country girl that has had to rely on her own abilities to get by for most of her life. Ruby is pretty much Ada's savior at this point. Ruby teaches her all about running a farm, preparing food, and how to take care of herself without depending on money. Together, they go from desolate to having a very successful farming operation.
It return for her help, Ada gives Ruby things she has never had before. She teaches Ruby about the finer things in life and gives her a home to live in, something she has never known before. Ironically, the first book Ada reads to Ruby is 'The Odyssey'. Cold Mountain is a well-written novel about love, friendship, and the human spirit, and of survival. It is full of intricate details about the south, the Civil war, and the lifestyles of the people during that period of time. The way Cold Mountain is written, it is a drama, a documentary, a love story, and a tragedy all weaved into one great story.
It seemed to me, that the underlying story, or the moral to the story, if you will, it that we will never find any happiness in our lives until our basic needs (food, shelter, clothing) have been satisfied. Cold Mountain will draw you in and have you anguishing over each failure and rejoicing for every triumph.