Short review. This first appeared in my Goodreads reviews. 4 out of 5
In many ways I found this to be superior to Cold Mountain, his blockbuster book.
Frazier continues to study his neck of the woods and the history surrounding it. Here he centers on the interaction between one character–Will–and the Cherokee. This is a single point of view narration, which I often find limiting. Frazier manages to convey other characters well, despite the single POV.
Will makes more than his share of mistakes, some so stupid that you feel like yelling at the book–which is an indication that you are simultaneously pulled into it.
The narrative is often dryly funny, but in the end the foibles of Will and all the main characters ring true and one is simply sad that even in a historical fiction, there is no escape from the Trail of Tears and all the sadness surrounding it.
While the main character does not die an early death, as he does in Cold Mountain, his heart has died a long time ago and there is nothing left to do but shoot his shotgun at the passing trains on the remnants of his once large holdings.