Charles Frazier

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Our guest this week is National Book Award winner, Charles Frazier. We’ll be talking with him about his new novel, VARINA (April 3, 2018, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins). VARINA debuts at #10 on the New York Times Bestseller List.  

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Charles Frazier is the author of Cold Mountain, an international bestseller that won the National Book Award and was adapted into an Academy-Award winning film by Anthony Minghella. Charles is also the author of the bestselling novels Thirteen Moons and Nightwoods.

His latest novel is VARINA (April 3, 2018, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins).

Charles was born in Asheville, North Carolina, grew up in Andrews, North Carolina, and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1973. He earned an M.A. from Appalachian State University in the mid-1970s, and received his Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina in 1986.

Praise for VARINA (April 3, 2018,  HarperCollins’ Ecco Publishing)

“In some ways, ‘Varina’ can be read as an antidote to ‘Gone With the Wind… Frazier’s historical research generally sits lightly on the story, almost always embedded gracefully in dialogue, a small telling incident or a sharp memory of kindness or brutality. His prose is both of the characters’ time and perfectly evocative.” —Washington Post

“A writer of evocative prose, Frazier possesses the rare capacity to impel the reader to stop, re-read and savor a passage… A study of guilt and grief, “Varina” showcases historical fiction at its finest: emotive and explanatory. It displays Frazier’s immense talent and bountiful creativity. And it earns its place among the finest Civil War novels of any era as it chronicles damaged lives and a deservedly lost cause.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“A new novel from the bestselling author of “Cold Mountain” finds teenage Varina Howell agreeing to marry the much-older Jefferson Davis. He is eventually made president of the Confederacy, placing Varina and their children at the center of a dark moment in history.” —New York Post

“Varina Howell Davis . . . is an inspired choice as heroine for Frazier’s riveting fourth novel (following Nightwoods). ‘Being on the wrong side of history carries consequences,’ he writes, and the events of Varina’s life propel a suspenseful narrative… This is a sharp, evocative novel.” —Publishers Weekly

“The unveiling of Varina’s sad story piques the reader’s curiosity. Much of what Frazier imagines is consistent with the incomplete historical record surrounding Varina, and he fills in the blanks to reveal a powerful personality that, while of her times, has much to say to us today in respect of how the impact of great events on individuals can affect the history of those events…Highly recommended for general readers as well as anyone interested in American history.” Library Journal, Starred Review

“Why You’ll Love It: Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier returns to the Civil War, this time weaving a captivating, devastating tale about the First Lady of the Confederate States of America.” Paste Magazine

“In this personal tragedy set in an epic period of American history, Frazier examines how ‘being on the wrong side of history carries consequences’ regardless of one’s personal degree of involvement in the offense. Something to think about.” —The Millions

“Charles Frazier realizes the Civil War on an intimate scale in his fourth novel, returning to the time and place of his iconic best-seller Cold MountainVarina explores one woman and her children’s journey through a country torn by war and stained by its past.” –Entertainment Weekly

About VARINA (April 3, 2018,  HarperCollins’ Ecco Publishing)

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, teenaged 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. HarperCollins

For more information, please see the author’s website.   You can keep up with Charles Frazier on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram