Charles Frazier

The author of Nightwoods and Cold Mountain suggests three transporting reads.

Charles Frazier’s debut novel, Cold Mountain, established him as a formidable talent in the historical fiction genre, topping bestseller lists and garnering the National Book Award in 1997. The story of Confederate deserter W. P. Inman’s journey home during the Civil War resonated with readers and was made into a 2003 Academy Award-winning movie. Frazier’s new book, Nightwoods, returns to the verdant territory of the Appalachian Moutains, where a killing unleashes a series of harrowing events on a young woman who must look after her murdered sister’s children. This week, Frazier points us to three favorite, enduring reads.

Books by Charles Frazier


The Dharma Bums

By Jack Kerouac

On the Road is the one I respect, a great American novel that will live as long as people care to read books, but this is the one I love. I read it every few years to revisit the sweet, sad narrative voice and the goofy literary backpacking trip in the Cascades. I made pretty much the same trip years ago, but Kerouac’s vision lives stronger in my mind than my own memories.”


Return of the Native

By Thomas Hardy

“This is the Hardy novel I’ve read most recently, but I could just as well choose nearly any of them for the deep-rooted sense of place and the rich, unsentimental evocation of landscape and local culture within which the characters find their fates.”


Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer, 1943-1954, by Jeffrey Cartwright

By Steven Millhauser

“This sly, brilliant novel combines literary obsession with a beautiful, intricately detailed study of childhood. The writing is a sentence-by-sentence delight: complex, funny, deeply evocative, and always dazzling.”

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