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Thirteen Moons

by Charles Frazier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,838825,048 (3.65)155
At the age of twelve, under the Wind moon, Will is given a horse, a key, and a map, and sent alone into the Indian Nation to run a trading post as a bound boy. It is during this time that he grows into a man, learning, as he does, of the raw power it takes to create a life, to find a home. In a card game with a white Indian named Featherstone, Will wins a mysterious girl named Claire. As Will's destiny intertwines with the fate of the Cherokee Indians, including a Cherokee Chief named Bear, he learns how to fight and survive in the face of both nature and men, and eventually, under the Corn Tassel Moon, Will begins the fight against Washington City to preserve the Cherokee's homeland and culture. And he will come to know the truth behind his belief that only desire trumps time.… (more)
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» See also 155 mentions

English (79)  Swedish (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
a boy who runs a trading station on the edge of indian country and the changes in his lifetime ( )
  sherribrari | Feb 24, 2024 |
Romance
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "Life was harsh for the Native Americans once the white man decided he wanted their land (Cherokees, 1838–1839 Trail of Tears). Story of a young frontiersman (once the western Carolinas were the frontier). Tale of his love with a young Indian woman too much a tale." ( )
  MGADMJK | Jul 26, 2023 |
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: This magnificent novel by one of America’s finest writers is the epic of one man’s remarkable journey, set in nineteenth-century America against the background of a vanishing people and a rich way of life.

At the age of twelve, under the Wind moon, Will is given a horse, a key, and a map, and sent alone into the Indian Nation to run a trading post as a bound boy. It is during this time that he grows into a man, learning, as he does, of the raw power it takes to create a life, to find a home.

In a card game with a white Indian named Featherstone, Will wins—for a brief moment—a mysterious girl named Claire, and his passion and desire for her spans this novel. As Will’s destiny intertwines with the fate of the Cherokee Indians—including a Cherokee Chief named Bear—he learns how to fight and survive in the face of both nature and men, and eventually, under the Corn Tassel Moon, Will begins the fight against Washington City to preserve the Cherokee’s homeland and culture. And he will come to know the truth behind his belief that “only desire trumps time.”

Brilliantly imagined, written with great power and beauty by a master of American fiction, Thirteen Moons is a stunning novel about a man’s passion for a woman, and how loss, longing and love can shape a man’s destiny over the many moons of a life.

I GOT THIS BOOK OUT OF MY LITTLE FREE LIBRARY. NOW, BACK IT GOES!

My Review
: Frazier's writing, line by line, agrees with me. Lookee here at how the story starts:
THERE IS NO SCATHELESS RAPTURE. LOVE AND TIME PUT ME IN THIS CONDITION. I am leaving soon enough for the Nightland, where all the ghosts of men and animals yearn to travel.

It's like a ringie-dingie on the private line to my sweet spot, that kind of careful scene-setting: Man thinking about his mortal end is very much in my wheelhouse, which should surprise no one given my recent health events. Frazier's way with putting word-clothes on his thoughts doesn't get less agreeable to me:
Survive long enough and you get to a far point in life where nothing else of particular interest is going to happen. After that, if you don’t watch out, you can spend all your time tallying your losses and gains in endless narrative. All you love has fled or been taken away. Everything fallen from you except the possibility of jolting and unforewarned memory springing out of the dark, rushing over you with the velocity of heartbreak. {Someone} walking down the hall humming an old song...or the mere fragrance of clove in spiced tea can set you weeping and howling when all you’ve been for weeks on end is numb.

All this in fewer than five pages!

And that's when I thought, uh-oh...I'm in danger of overload on the aperçus...which usually means the story isn't going to get the momentum going to keep the pages turning...

I fear I hit that one on the head.
My opinion was that if hogs are biting you so often that you have to stop and make up a specific word for it, maybe lack of vocabulary is not your most pressing problem.
–and–
What I wanted to do was slap him down a bit with wit and words. Grammar and vocabulary as a weapon. But what kind of world would it be if we all took every opportunity presented to us to assault the weak?
–and–
We all reach a point where we would like to draw a line across time and declare everything on the far side null. Shed our past life like a pair of wet and muddy trousers, just roll their heavy clinging fabric down our legs and step away. We also reach a point where we would give the rest of our withering days for the month of July in our seventeenth year. But no thread of Ariadne exists to lead us back there.
–and–
All I can say is that we are mistaken to gouge such a deep rift in history that the things old men and old women know have become so useless as to be not worth passing on to grandchildren.

Sterling stuff, I call that; agreeable to me in content, expression, and pithiness proving the writer is a clear thinker; but as a story, it all adds up to too much of a good thing and too little actually happening to keep me interested for very long at a stretch.

While that reality kept me from racing through the read, and from feeling that I'd like to pick it up every night until I'd finished it, I never once thought of abandoning ship for good. Stuff like this was my reward:
I CANNOT DECIDE WHETHER IT IS AN ILLNESS OR A SIN, THE NEED TO write things down and fix the flowing world in one rigid form. Bear believed writing dulled the spirit, stilled some holy breath. Smothered it. Words, when they’ve been captured and imprisoned on paper, become a barrier against the world, one best left unerected. Everything that happens is fluid, changeable. After they’ve passed, events are only as your memory makes them, and they shift shapes over time. Writing a thing down fixes it in place as surely as a rattlesnake skin stripped from the meat and stretched and tacked to a barn wall. Every bit as stationary, and every bit as false to the original thing. Flat and still and harmless.
–and–
In the end, {Bear} said he judged the Bible to be a sound book. Nevertheless, he wondered why the white people were not better than they are, having had it for so long. He promised that just as soon as white people achieved Christianity, he would recommend it to his own folks.

Quality writing at the expense of quality storytelling. ( )
  richardderus | May 28, 2023 |
When you're already a misandrist and misanthropist, it's hard to read this book. The story takes place in a time when few HUmans lived in North America, and the description of the land is achingly beautiful. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Frazierprimary authorall editionscalculated
Patton, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smit, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Charles O. Frazier and William F. Beal, Jr.
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There is no scatheless rapture.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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At the age of twelve, under the Wind moon, Will is given a horse, a key, and a map, and sent alone into the Indian Nation to run a trading post as a bound boy. It is during this time that he grows into a man, learning, as he does, of the raw power it takes to create a life, to find a home. In a card game with a white Indian named Featherstone, Will wins a mysterious girl named Claire. As Will's destiny intertwines with the fate of the Cherokee Indians, including a Cherokee Chief named Bear, he learns how to fight and survive in the face of both nature and men, and eventually, under the Corn Tassel Moon, Will begins the fight against Washington City to preserve the Cherokee's homeland and culture. And he will come to know the truth behind his belief that only desire trumps time.

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