New York Times best-selling author Charles Frazier is coming to Maryville College on Oct. 30 as part of the Appalachian Lecture Series. The author, who is most famous for his novel “Cold Mountain,” will be speaking in the Roland and Lynda Nutt Theatre in the Clayton Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. that evening.
The event is free and open to all. After the presentation, Frazier will be available for book signings, and copies of his novels will be available for purchase. Frazier is from North Carolina, and all of his novels take place within the Appalachia region.
“They’re not just set in Appalachia by happenstance,” said Kim Trevathan, assistant professor of writing/communication at MC. “[The area] is made an important part of the story.”
“I can relate to the places [Frazier] mentions,” said Sydney Atchley, a junior at MC. “I recognize the landmarks and have been on some of the rivers that he’s mentioned.” Atchley is a devoted fan of Frazier’s.
“As an author I respect his work,” she said. “I like the prose that he uses.” She said that she enjoys how Frazier allows his audience to have their own personal reaction to events without being forced fed. Especially in regards to romance, she said that she prefers Frazier’s realistic approach to the “fluff ” of other more guiding writers.
“There’s not a narrator giving an opinion,” she said. “You form one on your own.”
Trevathan also enjoys Frazier’s prose. “[The writing] has a complexity and depth to it and pays close attention to detail,” he said. “It’s lyrical prose that attracts a lot of readers.” In particular, Trevathan was amazed at Frazier’s first novel “Cold Mountain” and the power that Frazier can render in his scenes. Trevathan still remembers reading in the novel the main character experiencing a sense of calm come over him before fighting, and an insight into human nature was revealed by the character’s sense of inner peace, even in the face of violence.
Unfortunately, many college students are unfamiliar with Frazier’s work, or only recognize “Cold Mountain” because of the 2003 film starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renée Zellweger. In anticipation of Frazier’s visit, the film will be shown on Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m., also in the Roland and Lynda Nutt Theatre.
“[The film] is a chance to be exposed to his works,” Trevathan said. “The movie stays more or less faithful to the book. You can come and appreciate [Frazier] without having to have read his work.”
Atchley said that the movie is one of her favorites, and it was what drew her to read the book in the first place. However, she said that even if one does not particularly enjoy the movie, one should still consider going to see Frazier because of his fame as an author. Trevathan shares this notion.
“I urge people to go,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to see an author who has written a really great book on the Civil War and we’re really lucky to get him here. The chance to see a New York Times best-selling author should not be taken lightly.”