"Frazier’s description of the South in the aftermath of the war resembles recent post-apocalyptic fiction in which military violence combines with ecological catastrophe to destroy all remnants of civilization."
"In Varina, as in Cold Mountain, danger lurks everywhere, and human beings are reduced to barbarism."
"Though Varina is the novel’s central figure, Frazier provides a sidelong portrait of Jefferson Davis as a delusional egotist whose skewed sense of honor has cost countless lives. Socially awkward and emotionally stunted, he has never overcome the grief of losing his first wife, Knoxie, who contracted malaria on their honeymoon. Varina can forgive his emotional impairment, but his maniacal campaign to 'prolong the war' in the face of certain defeat is a crime beyond the scope of her mercy."