Come back to me, is my request.

June 18, 2013 § Leave a comment


I wrote last week about Sebastian Faulks. Today, inspired again by another favourite, I want to write about Charles Frazier. Cold Mountain, in particular. This book, is to me as an old friend, known well at the beginning, and returned to again and again. It never fails to jar me; leaving me with an odd sense of uncertainty and disgust at war, whilst haunting me with the sense that something magnificent has been lost – and is hard, no, impossible, to reclaim. Inman and Ada – though a strange match – make for a tragic love story, and Ruby – with her wonderful bluntness and hilarious way of living – wins you as a reader from her entrance onto the page. If you haven’t read it, do. And if you don’t like it, well, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

{I’ll leave you with a couple of snippets…}

“Ada had to admit that, at least now and again, just saying what your heart felt, straight and simple and unguarded, could be more useful than four thousand lines of John Keats. She had never been able to do it in her whole life, but she thought she would like to learn how. She went in the house and got her lap desk and a candle lantern and came back to the chair. She inked her pen and then sat and stared at the paper until the nib dried out. Every phrase she thought of seemed nothing but pose and irony. She wiped the pen clean on a blotter and dipped again and wrote, Come back to me is my request.”

“Bleak as the scene was, though, there was growing joy in Inman’s heart. He was nearing home; he could feel it in the touch of thin air on skin, in his longing to see the leap of hearth smoke from the houses of people he had known all his life. People he would not be called upon to hate or fear. He rose and took a wide stance on the rock and stood and pinched down his eyes to sharpen the view across the vast prospect to one far mountain. (…) It was to Cold Mountain he looked. (…) For a moment it seemed thinkable that he might not always feel cored out. Surely off in that knotty country there was room for a man to vanish. He could walk and the wind would blow the yellow leaves across his footsteps and he would be hid and safe from the wolfish gaze of the world at large.”


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