I have had a keen interest in regional literature since the summer of 1963 when I worked for the Council of the Southern Mountains, and I have been a bookseller specializing in books about Appalachian for just shy of 40 years now. No regional book, in that time, has soared to the levels of popular and critical success as quickly and securely as Cold Mountain! It remained at the top of the New York Times best seller list for 61 weeks! It sold three million copies. It won numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award! The novel is told in two compelling voices. Inman is a Confederate soldier who decides to desert after being wounded at Petersburg and walk back to his home near Cold Mountain in Haywood County, North Carolina, to the woman he loves and hopes will make a home with him. On the way he deals with an amazing array of both dangerous and hilarious characters. Ada is struggling mightily to survive the war's civilian deprivations on a small farm threatened by both armies as well as marauders who know no loyalty. I have never more strongly felt romantic tension while reading a book than when reading Cold Mountain. And I kept thinking, "this book has Hollywood written all over it." Sure enough, it became an amazingly successful and honored Hollywood movie! To add another layer of wonder to this whole story, Cold Mountain was the first book written by Charles Frazier, a young man who grew up deep in the North Carolina mountains and was serving as a professor at North Carolina State at the time. Of course the book's success both allowed and required Charles to quit his job. When we had a celebration of the Cherokee issue of Appalachian Heritage which I edited, led by the Principle Chief of the Eastern Band, Charles and Katherine arrived as part of the audience. They are so humble and especially supportive of the Cherokee people and all who live in the Blue Ridge.
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997. 356 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.