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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gentle, immersive and well written gem.
I have read this book a number of times now and, despite knowing the ending, never get tired of it.

Set on a small US fishing Island off Seattle it deals with a mixed community containing a number of japanese settlers. The period is the Second World War and the aftermath.

Prior to the war the community is fairly settled with it's staple outputs of...
Published on 9 Sep 2010 by Chris L

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glad I took a chance on this one
Not my usual genre of reading I have to admit, but I promised myself I would read at least 5 novels I usually wouldn't bother with this year- and I'm glad that this was one of them.

The novel centres around an alleged murder on a tiny Island off Puget Sound- a fisherman is found dead on his boat out at sea and a local Japanese fisherman is blamed for his...
Published on 17 Dec 2009 by Nicola F (Nic)


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply stunning, 21 Feb 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Snow Falling on Cedars (Paperback)
Not only a fantastic thriller which will keep you guessing right 'til the last page, but one into which Guterson manages to weave a complex and gentle lesson on morality, a heart-breaking love story, and a study of the prejudices of an insulated community. Snow Falling on Cedars is written in a distant understated style which reflects the author's desire not to judge any of his characters, but rather to know them and understand their actions, and as such, comes across as a beautiful, poetic, yet utterly plausible story. Guterson's landscape is unforgiving, but it is one with which he is so obviously at one, that every page bursts with a vibrant authenticity which captivates the reader. This book works on every level imaginable, it is simply stunning.
If you liked To Kill A Mockingbird, I fully recommend this title.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 28 Jun 2000
This review is from: Snow Falling on Cedars (Paperback)
I read very few novels but I was tempted into this one by a number of my friends who have read and enjoyed it.
This is a story ostensibly about a murder, but it is also a story about life in a small fishing community in NW America, about racism between different cultures within that community and about love that cannot be. The writing is fabulous, the cold, the smell of the woods and the sea leapt from the pages and I was very caught up in the atmosphere of the place.
I thought the way the murder was resolved was a little fanciful, though it did not detract from my immense enjoyment of the book. Highly recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Find a girl, Ishmael. Have children. LIVE.", 12 April 2003
By 
Ms. P. Ohnoutka (cheshire, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Snow Falling on Cedars (Paperback)
A thoroughly absorbing read which I then repeated a subsequent three times...and teaching it at 'A' level necessitated various passage dissections; from the impassioned language of closing arguments to the insular descriptions of the forest Ishmael believed (needed to believe) belonged to he and Hatsue. Guterson weaves a tale of political, social and interpersonal racism at the time of Pearl Harbour and within this, interweaves a love story which could never enjoy its 'happy' ending. Symbolism is rich in content, from the hollow tree which acts as a place of refuge, to the succulent strawberries amassed from the fields each summer, to Ishmael's arm and very name. Enthralling and consuming, this novel will challenge and engage.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not really a crime book, 12 Dec 2007
This review is from: Snow Falling on Cedars (Paperback)
The main disadvantage this book has is that it has the word 'whodunnit' on the cover, which is completely misleading. Frankly, the reviewer who labelled this as a whodunnit ought to be sacked; it is hardly surprising that people who buy this book expecting a whodunnit are disappointed, since that particular genre is plot driven with minimal interest in characters, whereas this thoughtful and, in places, profound work is quite the opposite. Guterson is clearly interested in characters, describing their motivations and how these motivations came to exist at a deeper level than most crime books, which is what separates this book from most other crime fiction. In fact, I'm not even sure labelling it as a piece of crime fiction is helpful.
In short, a beautiful and engaging book, but don't buy it if you want a whodunnit or a thriller...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A murder mystery woven into a quilt of hsitorical prejudice, 14 Aug 2001
This review is from: Snow Falling on Cedars (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although the nautical theme was rather overwhelming at first, but I persevered and kept up with the "lingo" and started to reel myself into the mystery and theme of the novel. The book offers everything a modern literacy piece should; detail, interest, and suspense as well as motivational characters evident by situation and background as well as historical context. The heart pounding tale of love and suspicion will enable you to enter the era of ostracised American Japanese people and the sacrifice they endured while also up keeping their modest pride. A real page-turner!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Snow Falling on Cedars (Paperback)
A little too much detail about characters who don't matter, but a fascinating story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Snow falling on Cedars, 19 May 2014
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An excellent thought provoking read, it was difficult to put it down. I look forward to reading more of David Guterson
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Love, Love this - read it, you will not regret it., 12 May 2014
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I really liked this book, not at all what I was expecting, this book kept me guessing the whole way through, proper on-the-edge-of-my-seat stuff.

The story is told from the point of view of several characters, as the trial progresses and each character either takes the stand or watches from the gallery, they tell their story. The shifting of focus onto each character really works, the timeline shifts but it's easy to follow and with each new exposition you learn something new and your opinion changes.

I had no idea that Japanese people were rounded up in America during the 2nd World War and put into camps. I guess a similar thing happened in the UK, but I've never heard of it. This was contrasted by people of German descent who were left alone, why was this? I can only guess that the Japanese attack on Hawaii made them the enemy of the USA more than the Germans. Or was it because the Japanese looked so different? I found the history of how the war affected different people in different way fascinating and how stereotypes and racism were hard to avoid.

The island is central to this book, the way it isolates the action makes everything seem larger but the pace slower. I even looked up on a map where this island was, it's not real but is probably based on San Juan Island between Seattle and Victoria (Anacortes is a real place and that was the closest town on the mainland, so I think my investigative skills are OK).

It's really well written, the characters are very real and it's easy to get sucked into the did-he-do-it or didn't-he?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Snow Falling on Cedars, 27 April 2014
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This review is from: Snow Falling on Cedars (Paperback)
Have read this at least three times now. This time it was the effect of war on islanders that made a strong impression , the silence that enclosed them that paralleled the reticence that was an essential part ot the character of the Japanese families. There is a mother discussion that explains their attitude towards their behaivours,. their way of looking at the world and the huge gap that separates them from the ego driven Americans. Even in the dock, the jurors cannot read the peron being triedwhose impssive dignity is is integral to his demeanor in this terrible position he finds himself. One feels that this would have been maintained even if death was his punishment.
Though already aware of how the Japanese were treated during the war, I hadn't really thought about those people who were native Germans or Italians who were not scapegoated , plucked from their homes and incarcerated. Appearance must have had some persuasive power in deciding their place in a country at war. They could be read by looking at them. The Japanese could not.
Could go on and on about the structure of the book, the doomed relations between the damaged Ishmael and hisadred Hatsue, the contrasting mothers, the so different lawyers and the island itself as a microcosm of greater world. I enjoyed it on this my third reading and will probably read it again
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4.0 out of 5 stars Book for Book Group discussion, 11 April 2014
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This review is from: Snow Falling on Cedars (Paperback)
Arrived on time and was a good price - in plenty of time for me to read
and digest for my Book Group.
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Snow Falling on Cedars
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (Paperback - 26 Jun 1996)
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