Excellent historical fiction depicting the plight of the American Indian in the years leading up to the Civil War and post war period. Frazier presents the characters of this novel in a human and touching manner. His descriptions of events and the countryside made this part of history very real to me. Highly recommend.
This book is filled with great description of images of an America long gone. It paints a beautiful picture but I really feel that Frazier fails to make the main character very appealing. It was written from the viewpoint of the main character so maybe the author was just trying to reflect his self assurance but I feel that it made him un-likeable half of the time. Started it last summer and still haven't finished it...just working my way through between books.
A wonderful book from the author of "Cold Mountain". A 12 year old orphan, Will Cooper, is sent into the Cherokee Nation because he is not wanted by his white family. He learns to manage the trading posts and becomes the adopted son of Bear. He teaches himself law and becomes the arbitrator for the Cherokee in Washington and becomes a senator. Between Chief Bear and Will Cooper they amass an incredible amount of land in the Smokey Mountains and become quite wealthy before Indian Removal only to loose most of it when the US Government steps in. And, there's a love story in there.
The Denver Post - "Reading a Frazier novel is like listening to a fine symphony. Take the time to savor it, take in each thought and relish the turn of phrase and imagery of a gifted craftsman"
I have to admit, I could not get through Frazier's previous work, Cold Mountain, but Thirteen Moons kept me hooked. It's a well written tale of a young man's journey to old age. Life, love, adventures in the mid-1880's, wild western edge of the U.S.
I rarely give five stars to a book. But this one deserves it. While it is a work of fiction,, it is a truly a humanistic approach to the retelling of the story of the expulsion of the Cherokee people from the Cherokee nation. It's also a love story-a love for a land, a people and a woman-told from the perspective of a man looking back at his past. Don't miss this one!
Thirteen Moons tell the story of one man's life - Will Cooper. Orphaned while still a boy, he was sold as a "bound boy", and became the sole shopkeep at a remote trading post on the edge of Cherokee lands. He learns Cherokee and is adopted into the family of Bear, a local Cherokee chief. He spends the rest of his life with one foot in the white world and one in the Cherokee world. He falls in love with the "daughter" of a local wealthy man who is partially Cherokee. He even teaches himself the law, which serves him in good stead when he works actively against the U.S. government to prevent HIS people from having to be relocated along with the rest of the Cherokee to territory out west (the Trail of Tears).
I'll be honest. This story rambles. But the writing style and the storytelling are so beautiful that for the most part I didn't mind the ramble at all, and just sat back to enjoy the journey. This story has a way of bringing you to tears one minute (when Will's beloved horse is stolen and injured my eyes started to water) and laughter the next (the negotiations for the duel that followed). This is especially true if you have a dry sense of humor like me.
Ironically, similar to the author's previous book Cold Mountain, this story also ends with a bang. That's not a spoiler though. You'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about :-)
The audio version of this book is wonderfully narrated by Will Patton, with just the right atmospheric music used at the transition points.
Great story set in the time of Indian Removals in the Appalachians, full of interesting characters, dubious moralities, and actual bits of history. The only downside is that Will Cooper, the narrator and protagonist, is so into himself and his story that I ended up wishing for somebody else's point of view ... particularly that of his lost love Claire, but also that of his mentor Bear. A bit ironic, given the sad theme of a people not getting their due.
Written in the first person, the author traces the life of Will Cooper starting with the time he was bonded at age 12 through ninety-something. The story begins and ends with Will sitting alone ruminating on his life. In between is an eloquently written story that take the reader into the not so glory days of early America.
Frazier writes with an eye to detail that puts the reader in the scene. Whether he is describing the density of a mountain forest, a night of dance in a Cherokee townhouse, or a lover's tryst the reader is a participant. Emotions are so vividly drawn that I felt them along with the characters.
This is a story of the life of Will Cooper, as told by himself, at the time period of the forced relocations of the Native Americans in the US.
My favorite thing about this book is Frazier's prose, very poetic, always thought provoking, yet easy to read.
I appreciate books that are real and convincing, not cliche and fake, and Frazier is definitely a writer of the first kind. I can't put into words how convincing he was, for example when writing the main character's thoughts on aging. He made me understand what the weariness of growing old really feels like, and I wonder how someone who wasn't yet sixty could have written so realistic a view on this issue. This is just one of the many descriptions in this book that made me wonder how he created such realistic feelings when he could not have experienced it himself. Another is his telling of what it was like in the Indians' townhouses during their parties.
I really enjoyed the book but have to admit the middle part was difficult to read at times, just because of the gruesome mistreatment of the Indians and the matter-of-fact descriptions in some death scenes.
This story revealed a seemingly legendary man to be a faulty human, completely honest in his reflections. And he is forever in love with a girl/woman who is frustratingly aloof about their relationship.
I would read it again just to listen to the poetry of the story. Beautiful writing.
Thirteen Moons (2006) by Charles Frazier is his third book and its another beauty. When 12-year-old Will Cooper is sent off on his own to be an indentured servant running a trading post on the border of the Cherokee Nation, it sets him on a lifelong journey searching for his place in the world and somewhere to call home. He is adopted by a Cherokee chief, Bear, falls in love, wins and loses fortunes, endures the Civil War and meets the likes of Davy Crockett and Andrew Jackson. Fraziers books are so beautifully rendered that the images of the places he writes about stay with you long after the reading of them.
I agree with NY Times reviewer who wrote,"In prose filled with grace notes and trenchant asides, (Fazier) has reset much of The Odyssey in 19th century American, near the end of the Civil War...."
and the San Francisco Chronicle, "A rare and extraordinary book."