Purple Fig Club: Cold Mountain
I can't believe we're closing in on the last book of 2016. Crazy how a whole year flies by!
It felt fitting to read this one as the weather turns a bit cooler, even if not to the extent of being snowy & bleak. For anyone who's still reading, let's jump into the discussion!
I couldn't have chosen a better quote from this book for the top image! Haha! This whole book felt quite exhausting to me. Which I don't mean in the sense of being terrible, but in the weariness of the landscape and the difficulty of the lives led there and, yes, sometimes in the reading about it.
Could life be any harder than it was for the characters in this book? The amount of work required to live off the land. The war. The violence.
While there is a beauty to the things Ada learns as Ruby teaches her, and to the things Inman discusses with the strangers he meets along his travels, there is also incredible hardship.
My favorite quote from the book by far was this one, to describe how hardship must be dealt with:
And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry your scars with you.
It's what Inman says to Ada when they at least find each other near the end of the book. He's speaking about all the tragedies they've faced, from his time in the war to her losing her father. And tragically, these words end up being like a guidebook to her, in dealing with losing him shortly thereafter.
The book is surely true to real life. Sometimes it's not a happy ending. You can make all the plans you want, but ultimately it's not up to you. And no matter what happens, you need to keep moving forward.
Not a joyful message, but a true one.
What did you think of the story? I feel like I found it worth reading but that between the heavy dose of narrative versus dialogue and the overall solemn tone to the book, I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed it. If that makes sense. A bit too heavy to apply that word to it. But I'm not sorry I read it.