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Cold Mountain, itself, a place which becomes more than a place, becomes a goal,, stands in for a time and a way of life which has been lost.
Anthony Minghella says, ‘’What struck me profoundly was the Chinese epigraph at the opening of the book. ‘Men ask the way to Cold Mountain. Cold Mountain: there’s no easy route.’ My wife is Chinese and I’m intrigued by Chinese literature. She told me that in Buddhist poetry Cold Mountain is a spiritual destination. It’s nirvana.’’
( I saw Crows... Black CrowsCollapse )
Powerful and compelling, the novel was hailed upon publication as a literary masterpiece and modern classic. Soon enough not long after it was first published, the novel appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Then, in November 1997, Cold Mountain was awarded the National Book Award for fiction and went to become one of the most popular books of the year!
Although this scenario is probably every author's dream come true, the success of this first novel, written by a virtually unknown Sothern academic, was understandably overwhelming for the writer himself. Already, there was interest from film studios and he barely had gotten through all the book signings.
I'm a writer myself (my own dream is to get published in which chances are slim) and I can really relate to this man. I also enjoy the research more than the actual writing. Also, for me gender issues are not a concern. When you're writing a story you don't think, ''Oh, this is going to be a man's story,'' or ''this is going to be a woman's story,'' you just write the character without planning and the gender is usually already there. You don't have to decide that; the character almost decides for you. When writing in a male voice or a female voice makes no difference either. You are focusing on writing a character, not a gender. You're not supposed to be concerned with the gender of the voice. Men and women can be two very different caricatures and may express different voices, but the fact is that they're human, and they can share the same thoughts or feelings. It's not a matter of being masculine or feminine thoughts. They're human thoughts and as humans we have the same desires and the same pains. Frazier expressed that pretty well through Ada and Inman.
And yes, the Civil War is not the central issue of the story. We don't ever get a first-hand experience of the war except from what Inman tells Veasey, which still isn't much insight. However, the point is, the Civil War serves as a backdrop to the novel, but the central struggle is Inman's journey and the effects of the war on civilian life. It isn't meant to be a war story. Though described as a relatively masculine story (even on the women's side with the point of view of Ada and Ruby- as they do man's work), it is not a story about men who go off to fight. It is still a cruel and violent world of men killing men, but it is really a story about the women left behind to fight their own war back home- not with guns- but a war fought between themselves and nature in order to survive.