Найдите свой следующий любимый аудиокнига

Станьте участником сегодня и слушайте бесплатно в течение 30 дней
Varina: A Novel

Varina: A Novel

Написано Charles Frazier

Озвучено Molly Parker


Varina: A Novel

Написано Charles Frazier

Озвучено Molly Parker

оценки:
4/5 (29 оценки)
Длина:
12 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Apr 3, 2018
ISBN:
9780062406026
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Примечание редактора

A triumphant return…

After more than 20 years since his hit “Cold Mountain,” author Charles Frazier has written about the Civil War once again. A lyrical chronicle of the life of First Lady of the Confederate States Varina Davis that looks at the consequences of choosing the wrong side of history.

Описание

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

With her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects a life of security as a Mississippi landowner. He 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 audiobook is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.

Издатель:
Издано:
Apr 3, 2018
ISBN:
9780062406026
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Об авторе

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. He is also the author of the bestselling novels Thirteen Moons and Nightwoods.


Связано с Varina

Похожие Аудиокниги


Обзоры

Что люди думают о Varina

4.0
29 оценки / 21 Обзоры
Ваше мнение?
Рейтинг: 0 из 5 звезд

Отзывы читателей

  • (4/5)
    I had never spent much time considering the fate of Southern leaders after the Civil War. This piece of historical fiction is narrated by Varina, or "V", the wife of Jefferson Davis. It is the story of an intelligent woman married off to a grieving widower, and the rest is history. V is a compassionate, smart woman and through her eyes the reader glimpses the costs of war to the vanquished and the plight of women in the late 1800s. I like the first person narrative, as it allowed for great detail and enhanced insight to the time period. Excellent read.
  • (4/5)
    As with Cold Mountain, I appreciated Frazier's complex diction, his almost laconic narrative musings of the protagonists, his careful blend of geographic/cultural/political details with the immediacy of Varina's emotions, thoughts. Historical fiction at its best with a fascinating woman who did not fit the rosy cheeked Southern belle stereotype, who maintained a full life, intellectually & socially, in spite of her almost constant struggles with her more powerful husband and his elder brother, the deaths of so many of her six children, the inescapable chaos and destruction at the end of our country's terrible civil war, & then living with the aftermath of being the First Lady of the lost cause. Interesting choice to tease out her story with the use of a second narrator, an "interviewer" in the later years of her life (1906-). "Jimmie", now James Blake, a freed black & highly educated teacher, has vague recollections of his early childhood; he comes upon a Davis biographer's book, with references to him being a part of the Davis household as a small child. He eventually seeks out his long ago mistress & protector, to confirm his early childhood memories, & seek understanding. While this interplay of James and Varina, their subsequent meetings forces the reader to go back & forth in Varina's many years, the author remains firmly in control of both their voices, and the comprehensive portrait of an intelligent, complex woman clearly emerges. Fascinating to read. It would make a great read for a book club for those who enjoyed historical fiction/biography.
  • (4/5)
    I loved Cold Mountain, so when I heard the author had a new book out, I had to read it. This is an artful, somewhat historical- but billed as a novel- portrait of Varina Davis, First Lady of the Confederacy. While I did find it apologist in some ways, and fictionalizing a real person does leave a heavy burden on the reader to parse what it history and what is creative license, it was nevertheless compelling, beautiful, and lead me to seek more information about the figures involved.
  • (4/5)
    Varina Howell Davis was the second wife of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America. Though she was raised in a world that might have produced a typical Southern belle, her father's fecklessness instead made her a young woman who was unusually educated and aware of the precariousness of her own position in life. This precariousness would color all the rest of her days as she became the second wife of a man still devoted to his dead first bride, a mother who lost her children one by one, and the first lady of a doomed rebel government.This beautifully written novel tells Varina's story as she tells it to a man who has come to visit her in the New York hotel where she is living her last days. He believes that he is Jimmie Limber, a black boy whom Varina took into her home and raised with her own children. The tale of their attempted escape through the war-torn South to Cuba, with the Union army hot on their heels, is powerful and suspenseful. The time after the war is less focused and less powerful, as Varina attempts to find a way to live with the losses she has suffered. But throughout, she never descends into self-pity; she realizes that what she has gone through is not even close to just recompense for the evils perpetuated by the Confederate system that she lived in for so long. I would probably not have picked up a book about Varina if I hadn't heard Charles Frazier speak about it and been intrigued. Her story is quite interesting and I'm glad that I read it. Frazier is sympathetic to her choices and her lack thereof, and does not let her off the hook for her sins. But the tone of this book is not angry; instead it is more regretful. After all, Varina is somewhat protected by her social status and her whiteness, despite her guilt. Maybe a little more anger would be a good thing in telling this story.
  • (3/5)
    Varina, written by Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, is about Varina Howell Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America. It opens in 1906 with a middle-aged black man who has come to her to fill in parts of his past to her who is staying at a "health spa" likely for addiction to laudanum. It seems that when he was a child he stayed with her family as a freed person but also as a child that they were taking care of after finding him being beaten in the streets. Varina put him in with her children to be raised. When Sherman was making his way South burning everything in his path and Richmond became indefensible, Jeff sent her and the children south heading toward Florida and Havana. Varina tells this man, James "Jimmie Limber" Brooks his story and her own story of her life before meeting Jefferson and then their life together.This book goes back and forth in time between the present, which is 1906 and 1865 and 1874 and 1842 onward. This leads to whiplash as you are thrown willy nilly through the history of this woman's life. In the beginning, she had it pretty hard in that she once came from a wealthy family, but her father squandered the money that he got from his father on bad deals. Pretty soon there was nothing left. She has no dowry to speak of and is now in a position to be asked to no parties to meet gentlemen when her father sends her to stay with a new family in the area the Davis's. While staying with Joe Davis and his many daughters who seem to be of a similar age and whose mother is not much older than Varina who is seventeen and these daughters are in their teens. No one is really sure what is going on in that house. But his brother is Jefferson Davis and he made a handshake deal with him for some land, Brierfield where he made a mess of building it. Jefferson hasn't felt like marrying anyone since his first wife died of malaria not long after they married. But when he meets Varina he sees someone he can marry, though he does not love her.Varina agrees to marry him after much ado. She has dreams that come true and she dreams of the Civil War and of the South losing and of her and Jefferson being President and First Lady and it ending badly for them. She dreams of losing children she hasn't had yet. As a matter of fact, it would be years before they would have their first child mainly due to the fact that they weren't on equal footing in the marriage and Jefferson's heart and mind were elsewhere. He doesn't even leave her Briarfield in his will but leaves it to his brother to watch over her as he sees fit. Which she knows he'll kick her out as soon as possible. So she sets out war against brother Joe and Jeff to get her inheritance and refuses to sleep with Jefferson in case they have children from that union that would be in peril of losing their inheritance and being destitute. At this time Jefferson is working in Washington D.C. in the government and without Varina there to help him he is failing at his job. Then the Mexican-American War broke out and he left them to go off and fight in it.The character of James Brooks is not fully formed and you don't feel as though you really know him at all. It's like he's a prop for Varina to tell her story to which could have just as easily have been done to a newspaper editor or someone with whom you wouldn't want to feel a connection to but don't. And the character of Laura who is staying at the place Varina is staying at in 1906 is superfluous. She has no purpose in the story and wastes time and space. Some of the histories behind Varina's story, if true, is entertaining. The story of her laudanum taking and how she is not a "professional" taker but an average person taking it every day and her reasoning behind it are interesting. This isn't a bad book, it just isn't a great book either. It's somewhere in between. I'm just not that fond of his writing style. I give it three and a half stars out of five stars.QuotesSo, right now, I wish you every day a happy day and good appetite, warm feet, good friends & everything but forgetfulness. I do not think I would have longed for, or used the water of Lethe. Memory is truly psossession sometimes.-Charles Frazier (Varina p 40)Give a Yankee one little dried pea and three thimbles and he can buy groceries. Give him a boxful of cheap, shiny pocketknives and pistols to trade and he will turn it into a career. But give him a war, and he’ll make a fortune to last centuries. It’s not something they learn. They’re saturated in it from birth. End result—we lost everything and they create thousands of new millionaires.-Charles Frazier (Varina p 43)What those miserable political animals are doing to that beautiful man [Jefferson Davis]—a man, let me be clear, I have wanted to kill many time sfor my own reasons—is disgusting and heartbreaking.-Charles Frazier (Varina p 227)Never acknowledge that the general culture is often stupid or evil and would vote out God in favor of the devil if he fed them back their hate and fear in a way that made them feel righteous. -Charles Fraizer (Varina p 328-9)You’ll find that as you grow old, you stop bothering to hide the self you’ve been all along.-Charles Frazier (Varina p 335) -And his ideas on war were equally abstract, He said, War is an affair of lines—a problem of geometry.-Except pencil marks drawn on paper with a straightedge and a protractor don’t bleed.-Exactly, V said.-Charles Frazier (Varina p 337)
  • (4/5)
    Varina is a novel about the wife of the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, by Charles Frazier, who also wrote Cold Mountain. A large portion of the book deals with Varina Davis’ life after the fall of Richmond. It follows her unsuccessful escape accompanied by her children, servants and friends as she tries to reach Cuba. The novel weaves back and forth in time as James Brooks, aka Jimmy Limber, connects with her in her later years. The controversy of whether James was originally a slave of the Davises, an adopted son, protege or family ‘pet’ is never completely explained. But James collects V’s memories of her life as a girl, her meeting and marriage to Jeff Davis, her early days in Washington as a political wife and later as the First Lady of the South and the tragic loss of her young son, Joe. It took me al least a third of the book to relax into the writing style. At first, I found it self aware and bordering on pretentious. As I got more deeply into the extraordinary life of V, my irritation at the forced writing style fell away. She is portrayed as a complex, intelligent and wily woman, clearly ahead of the times she lived in. What the novel did was whet my appetite to discover the true Varina Davis and I shall carry on with my research.
  • (3/5)
    As the American Civil War was drawing to a close and it was clear that the South was going to lose, the defeated President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, told his wife, Varina, better known as V, to take the children and flee south from Richmond to Florida to seek passage to Cuba. This is how this historical fiction begins, which portrays the life of the First Lady of the South. I had high hopes for this novel since I loved Cold Mountain, but found it a more difficult read than his debut award-winner. The novel frequently switched among V's childhood in Mississippi, courtship with the much older Jefferson, and her husband's political life in Washington. I found myself becoming confused with the transitions. The entourage meets a number of individuals during their journey south, especially through Georgia, and found myself also having difficulty keeps all the characters straight. The earlier and final chapters of the book were the best; I found the middle chapters boring. I don't recall having a similar difficult with Cold Mountain.
  • (4/5)
    -- That line in the song, Old times there are not forgotten. I could argue that maybe they're not worth remembering.-- I've never forgotten that girl, and I wouldn't want to. Remembering doesn't change anything--it will always have happened. But forgetting won't erase it either.Varina was the second wife of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. She was raised in Mississippi according to her status, owned slaves and served as the first lady in Richmond. But she was also a woman who walked out of her husband's inaugural address halfway through, who, in the middle of the Civil War, took in a black child and raised him with her own children, who finished the work of her husband's memoirs after his death and then moved directly to New York City. Charles Frazier tells the story of Varina's life as a series of reminiscences recounted by Varina to a young man who believes he might be Jimmy Limber, the boy Varina took in during the war. He is searching for his past and they meet each Sunday and she remembers her life before, during and after the war, the memories moving back and forth through time, as her train of thought brings other events to mind. Many years later, now that choices matter less, V has finally learned that sitting calm within herself and waiting is often the best choice. And even when it's not, those around you become uncomfortable because they think you are wise.Frazier writes beautifully, there's not a jarring sentence or an awkward word choice anywhere in this book. He also does the difficult job of threading the needle of being both faithful to the attitudes and behaviors of that time without alienating the modern reader. Varina is a sympathetic character, but Frazier never allows us to look away at the harm done by the system she lived in and tried to preserve.
  • (5/5)
    I didn't know anything about Mrs Davis before this book. Wouldn't have even known her name. I like the way she was portrayed here - independent, quixotic, not wrapped up in causes, but aware of how history would view her. Frazier's prose is just as gorgeous here as it was in Cold Mountain. As if an old storyteller sits on a porch spinning his tale with no regard to punctuation or full sentences. Really lovely.
  • (4/5)
    Varina Howell Davis, the wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, is the subject of the latest book by Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain. It is presented as a series of memories as Varina recounts parts of her life to James Blake who was once Jimmy Limber, a black child she took care of during the last part of the Civil War. Now he's a schoolteacher who wants to know about the childhood he can only remember in flashes.Cold Mountain is a favorite book, and the writing in Varina is as beautiful and evocative. Mr. Frazier has a gift for choosing the perfect word or phrase, and it is on full display here. I loved the writing and often paused over a sentence or paragraph to savor its meaning. However, I never got a good feel for Varina which is too bad as she is the main character. Jimmy is more the catalyst who interviews her, trying to draw her out. I'm not sure he ever succeeds as V as she is known in the narrative is a wraith floating on a sea of bland memories buoyed only by the opium she ingests in varying degrees from the time she's thirteen. I never got a real feel for her; even her losses, the deaths of her young children, seemed distant and removed in the narrative. She knows many people but never seems truly attached to anyone, not her older husband or her children. V lived through many historical events from the Mexican-American war to the time of the Spanish-American war, but they are barely touched on in some ways, just part of her misty memories. So, I was disappointed ultimately. I'll give this book 3 and 1/2 stars because it's so beautifully written, but I wish the author had delved deeper into the real woman, even if it was a fictional presentation.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating biographical novel on Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. The novel is set up as dialogues on a number of Sundays between Varina, now an older woman in her 60s, with James, who had lived with her family and her children. He has kept a notebook about her all these years; it is now August 1906 and he wants her to clarify what he has written and fill in gaps. So the flashbacks and memories begin: life before, during, and after the Civil War. The novel was a bit disjointed in how the material was presented but the writing was gorgeous. Varina's life, although depressing, sounds like one to investigate further.
  • (5/5)
    A beautifully gwritten story of the life of Varina Howell Davis, the second wife of Jefferson Davis and the only "First Lady" of the Confederacy. Varina was the daughter of a less than successful businessman; however, she was educated by a private tutor and at a finishing school in the north. Not having many options for a marriage, she was wed to Jefferson Davis, a widower much older than herself. Davis was the son of an over-bearing landowner and was still grieving the death of his first wife.The first years of the Davis marriage were spent apart due to his involvement in the Mexican-American war. Varina was forced to live in the home of Davis' father and brother who treated her poorly. After the war, Davis ran for Congress and spent time in Washington DC along with Varina who loved the society life and interesting people there, but the question of slavery became more and more urgent.The story of Varina's life is not told in chronological order. Rather, James, a black boy who lived with her as a child (she supposedly rescued him from a beating) is now an adult and comes to visit her and discuss his early years. It takes a while to keep names straight as characters are often mentioned without "introduction" which comes later. Still, the book held my interest and I found her story to be fascinating. A woman with a mind of her own who is trapped in a marriage of convenience yet has five children and does her best to fulfill her role as a president's wife in spite of her mixed feelings about the secession of the southern states.There are episodes of hardship especially after the fall of Richmond when Varina, two bodyguards, a slave woman, and some of her children escape hopefully heading to Florida and eventually Cuba. The fall of Richmond, the destruction of the South especially in the wake of Sherman's march become real as seen through many of the episodes of the escape as the group meets various people. The strange relationship of some of the slave holders and their slaves is like none I have read about. This is not the typical harsh slave owner beating his slaves. Instead, many, including Davis, had a personal and seemingly equal relationship with slaves. Yet, the idea of ownership is shown from two perspectives: that of the owner and that of the slave. Loved this book; learned a lot about the Civil War from an angle I had never thought of. And Varina is one of the most memorable characters.
  • (3/5)
    The life of Varina Howell Davis was at times stranger than fiction, so it made for an interesting story. This book was written as if it were a series of interviews with Varina primarily relating the account of her flight from Richmond but frequently sidetracking to other memories. It didn't make for the smoothest storytelling (Of course the author's refusal to use quotation marks didn't help either). One of my favorite things about historic fiction is seeing how the author chooses to fill in the blanks left by history, so I was disappointed that when it came to Varina's broken engagement and rescheduled wedding, we were simply told that V never talked about it. That felt like an easy way out, as if the author had been unable to come up with any interesting or believable ideas for motivation. Perhaps my impression was wrong, and there were other reasons he didn't want to get in to that part of V's life. If so, I would have been happy to read about it in the author's notes at the end. I really wish the author's notes had been more comprehensive. I love reading the motivation for telling a story in the first place as well as the reason behind some of the creative liberties. There was nothing like that here.A couple of random notes:This book gave me the impression that Varina was an only child (In reality she was not).I believe that the date was wrong at the beginning of the chapter about the inauguration. I believe it was meant to say 1861.Overall, though, it was an interesting read.
  • (5/5)
    This is the story of the wife of Jefferson Davis, before, during, and after the Civil War. It's a fascinating look at history. It is also a tragic recounting of the myriad sorrows of her life. Most of all, however, it is another example of the lyrical mastery of Charles Frazier's writing. I put is writing up against any contemporary writer.
  • (4/5)
    3.5 Frazier one again returns to the Civil War, with mixed reactions from this reader. I freely admit to knowing what became of some of the principal players after the Southern defeat in said war, so I can in no way pinpoint accuracies or inaccuracies in this telling. This is narrated from the viewpoint of Varina Davis, fleeing Richmond after Lee's surrender. At her side, her remaining children, a young black boy named James, a black woman, and a few trusted protectors.This was, I felt, the strongest part of the book. The danger they encountered from an almost lawless land, Marauder's, escapes, the Federal soldiers trying to capture them, and those looking for the gold she supposedly carried. We see the damage done to the landscape and the people, some protecting what they have left, and those still trying g to !I've in the shells of their former existence. I found the author did a wonderful job painting this picture of a South in disarray and destruction.While the story is told from Varinas point of view, it is told from the future, when the young black boy, James, now grown, seeks her out to clarify things he had read. Thing being so young at the time he little remembers. It is this interaction with James and a young woman named Laura, that didn't work as well for me. It broke up the narractive, I found it clumsily done and scattered. I think a straight forward narrative would have served this story better,made it stronger, but that is not this book. So while, for the most part I enjoyed the history and a look back at this time, for me I found the changes of focus frustrating.ARC from Edelweiss.
  • (5/5)
    Great read. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommend it to all ages
  • (5/5)
    Very well written, highly recommend to anyone who enjoys southern history
  • (4/5)
    A different kind of historical fiction. More literary thoughts and discussion than would really be possible to know for Varina Davis, but once I got into it I really enjoyed being immersed in it. I had loved this about Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain also.
  • (2/5)
    Charles Frazier presents another bitter look on the ravages of the Civil War, this time Frazier delves into an account on Varina Howell Davis, the second wife of Jefferson Davis. The war has ended and Varina and her surviving children race to a haven in Florida. The story jumps back and forth exposing Varina in various times of her life. The story uncovers happiness and grief and richness and poverty. Frazier described a life surrounded by politics and greed, and the hard, cold reality of war. I was in that wagon, bouncing around and hungry on that trip to Florida, and desperate for the journey to end.
  • (3/5)
    VARINA by Charles FrazierThe person is eminently interesting – the wife of the Confederate President. The era is interesting – the decades before, during, and after the American Civil War. The episodes are fascinating – a Southern white woman raising an enslaved child as her own: the escape of fugitives in a devastated land: the marriage of a 17 year old to a 40 year old. So why didn’t I like it?The episodes are just that – episodes that jump from decade to decade with no cohesion. The story is not a story – there is no plot. The tempo and pacing are erratic at best. BUT… the writing is wonderful. The conclusions are insightful. The characters are real and well presented.YOU might like it. I didn’t.3 of 5 stars
  • (4/5)
    I didn’t know much about the wife of the Confederate State President, Jefferson Davis, but now I do. I think she’s a person I’d like to know and I would love to have Oprah interview. Varina was an intelligent, strong willed woman who was comfortable in her skin. She didn’t rely on a man to shape her personality. I wonder if she’d have been the US Senator instead of her husband, if history would have been different.