Recording the Reading, 2007, #37
37. Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
There’s been a lot of discussion in reviews about this book being bloated and boring. It IS rather full of description, but I liked it. The narrator and main character, Will Cooper, is loosely based on William Holland Thomas, 1805-1893, adopted by the Cherokee and later their chief, a North Carolina state senator, and a Confederate colonel. His adoptive father, Bear, appears to be loosely based on Cherokee chief Yonaguska, and other minor characters are based on real people (for example, Charlie). However, Cooper’s love interest, the enigmatic Claire, is not based in reality (the real Will Thomas married), and that may explain why she is the least believable character, at least to me, and why their love story never rang true. The title refers to the thirteen moons in the Cherokee calendar, and I liked the way Frazier incorporated them into the story.
I listened to the audiobook on my commute, and followed along in the text at night, and I think the double-“reading” helped with my understanding and appreciation of the book. At least, I was the only person of about ten attendees at the local book club meeting this past Tuesday who liked it!. I never read Frazier’s first book, National Book Award winner Cold Mountain, and only saw parts of the movie on TV recently (enough to feel Nicole Kidman was miscast), so I guess I didn’t have such high expectations to be let down. Actor Will Patton read the audiobook, and his voice was perfect for North Carolinian Cooper/Thomas. The audiobook also featured blue bluegrass music by Ryan Scott and Christina Courtin that marked the beginnings of the (five?) parts of the story, as well as at the end of each of the thirteen discs.