Strange fact: first time I read this book I hated it. Well, no, perhaps ‘hate’ is too strong a term, but I really didn’t like it. It left me completely cold and I just did not get all the fuss about it. So to this day I will never understand what made me pick it up and read it again sometime later. I’m just glad that I did, because it has since become one of my favourite books.
I’m a re-reader when it comes to fiction. You’ll notice from my reviews that I mostly read non-fiction, and when I do read fiction the majority of the time it’s re-reading old favourites. I’m too picky when it comes to fiction, my tastes are so particular, and it’s hard for me to find anything that suits. So I tend to fall back on the tried-and-tested. And Cold Mountain is tried and tested.
Charles Frazier’s prose is probably the kind that either suits or it doesn’t – and it suits me. I have a real thing for his kind of spare, elegant-yet-whimsical style. I like my prose to read like poetry. I find the vast majority of fiction to be too much about plot, too much about stomping headlong to a endpoint rather than painting a picture. I don’t really care what happens; I like the means of getting there. I like to savour the words, the journey. And this book is all about words painting pictures and a journey. Which is probably why I love it so.