Charles Frazier with Mary Ann Gwinn
A little more than twenty years after his luminous debut novel, Cold Mountain, captivated readers, critics, and booksellers everywhere, and with Thirteen Moons and Nightwoods along in the years since, Charles Frazier is here with Varina (Ecco), another extraordinary novel set in the cauldron of the Civil War.
“Varina Howell Davis (1826–1906), wife and widow of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, is an inspired choice as heroine for Frazier’s riveting fourth novel ... ‘Being on the wrong side of history carries consequences,’ he writes, and the events of Varina’s life propel a suspenseful narrative. A quotation from her letters, 'my name is a heritage of woe,' is an apt description of the life depicted: Varina, called 'V' throughout, is married at 18 to the much older Davis; becomes the mother of six children, only one of whom survives her; flees the collapse of the South as a desperate fugitive with a bounty on her head; and, later, is forced to earn a penurious living as a journalist. She is a flawed but fascinating woman ...Frazier’s interjection of historical detail is richly informative, and his descriptions of the natural world of the South are lyrical … this is a sharp, evocative novel.” —Publishers Weekly.
Tonight Charles Frazier appears in conversation with Mary Ann Gwinn of the Seattle Times.