ReadDavidson, an annual town-wide reading initiative that started in 2007, is a partnership between the Town of Davidson, the Davidson Public Library, Main Street Books, and several local avid readers. The ReadDavidson committee encourages all community members to read a selected book and attend fun and educational book-related events that make the book come to life.
This year’s selection is Varina by Charles Frazier. Events include two public book discussions - both held at the Davidson Public Library, led by AlTonya Washington and Nancy Lingle. ReadDavidson programming will conclude on April 28th with an event featuring author Charles Frazier in conversation with DG Martin. This is event is public and will take place in the Lilly Family Gallery on Davidson College’s campus.
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 book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.