Varina: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


The author of Cold Mountain has written a novel about the life of Varina Howell, the second wife of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. The story bounces back and forth from the past to the year she dies.  Varina was not enthusiastic about the Civil War, and at the end of the war, Davis give her a pistol to kill herself if she is captured as she flees to Florida with her children. Much I didnt know!

— From Robin's Picks

Description


Sooner or later, history asks, which side were you on?

In his powerful new novel, Charles Frazier returns to the time and place of Cold Mountain, vividly bringing to life the chaos and devastation of the Civil War

Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions.

The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.”

Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.

 

Praise For…


“No writer today crafts more exquisite sentences than Charles Frazier.”

“Frazier works on an epic scale, but his genius is in the details--he has a scholar’s command of the physical realities of early America and a novelist’s gift for bringing them to life.”

“Charles Frazier’s feeling for the Southern landscape is reverential and beautifully composed.”

“Perfectly evocative . . . A finely wrought novel that will reward rereading. Elegiac without being exculpatory, it is an indictment of complicity without ignoring the historic complexity of the great evil at the core of American history.”

“Beautifully rendered…Frazier in this, his fourth novel, lyrically resurrects the blasted but hauntingly beautiful Southern landscape just after the war...Varina Davis becomes a marvelously fallible character, complicated enough to stand on her compromised own.”


Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062405982
ISBN-10: 0062405985
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018
Pages: 368
Language: English

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