Cold Mountain (novel)
Recent edition cover
|Publisher||Atlantic Monthly Press|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||356 (first edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-87113-679-1 (first edition, hard)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.54 21|
|LC Classification||PS3556.R3599 C6 1997|
Cold Mountain is a 1997 historical novel by Charles Frazier which won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. It tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks for months to return to Ada Monroe, the love of his life; the story shares several similarities with Homer's The Odyssey. The novel alternates chapter-by-chapter between Inman's and Ada's stories. It was Charles Frazier's first novel and a major bestseller, selling roughly three million copies worldwide. It was also adapted into an award-winning film of the same name.
Plot summary 
The novel opens in a Confederate military hospital where the protagonist, Inman, is recovering from a recent battle wound. Tired of fighting for a cause he never believed in and longing for his home at Cold Mountain, North Carolina, he decides to desert from the Confederate Army and sets out on an epic journey home.
The narrative alternates between the story of Inman and that of Ada Monroe, a minister's daughter recently relocated from Charleston to the rural mountain community of Cold Mountain. Though they only knew each other for a brief time before Inman departed for the war, it is largely the hope of seeing Ada again that drives Inman to desert the army and make the dangerous journey back to Cold Mountain. Details of their brief history together are told at intervals in flashback over the course of the novel.
At Cold Mountain, Ada's father soon dies and the farm where the genteel city-bred Ada lives, named Black Cove, is soon reduced to a state of disrepair. A young woman named Ruby, outspoken and resourceful, soon moves in and begins to help Ada to overcome her circumstances and the two of them form a close friendship as they attempt to survive in this harsh war-torn environment.
Inman's journey to return to Ada is perilous. He faces starvation, extreme weather, the constant harassment of the Home Guard sent to track down deserters, and the treachery of other desperate individuals. He is at times aided in his journey by strangers equally affected by the horrors of war. Frazier's narrative depicts a bleak landscape of America during the Civil War focusing on the emotional and psychological scars left upon combatants and citizens alike.
Awards and nominations 
It was later adapted for the screen by director Anthony Minghella in the 2003 film Cold Mountain, starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renée Zellweger. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Jude Law, and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Renée Zellweger.
- "National Book Awards – 1997". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
(With acceptance speech by Frazier and essay by Harold Schechter from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)
- Polk, James (July 13, 1997). "American Odyssey". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- Smith, Dinitia (November 19, 1997). "Civil War Novelist Wins the National Book Award". nytimes.org. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- "Weatherford Award". Retrieved 2007-08-12.