Snow Falling on Cedars Paperback – 6 Jul 2009
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'This is classic whodunnit territory but Guterson's fiercely intelligent and moving novel is far more than a murder mystery ... Guterson has written a novel about the human condition that marvellously combines tenderness and excitement' The Times 'A skilfully constructed, deeply affecting story of love and death ... This is a hugely attractive book, written in clipped elegant prose' Sunday Times 'Compelling ... a flawlessly written first novel' New York Times 'Love and morality are beautifully choreographed into an exceptional debut novel' Daily Mail
From the Inside Flap
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award
American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award
San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries--memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense-- one that leaves us shaken and changed.
"Haunting.... A whodunit complete with courtroom maneuvering and surprising turns of evidence and at the same time a mystery, something altogether richer and deeper."--"Los Angeles Times
"Compelling...heartstopping. Finely wrought, flawlessly written."--"The New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 logging, strawberry farming (using lots of immigrant japanese labour) and fishing. It features the parallel lives of two boys who grew up on the Island - Carl Heine a European Immigrant and Kabuo Miyamoto a Japanese Immigrant. Both move away to fight during the war (for the US) and both return damaged to an extent. The book starts as Carl Heine's body is discovered (I am not giving anything away here, this is revealed on page one) and tracks back over time to draw a picture of the circumstances running up to his death.
The author, David Guterson, does a lovely job of weaving a storyline of different lives and themes such as love, betrayal, war, racial hatred and upheaval set against a charming small island/town mentality. For example the descriptive passages dealing with the loneliness of fishing at night are simply excellent and this holds true throughout the book.
It is also a book that in many ways defys genre. I think pretty much anyone who enjoys a good book will like it. From the moment it starts it welcomes you in and pulls you through the trials and tribulations of the main charactors in an immersive and endearing way. The author deals with the key themes superbly.
I strongly suggest that if you have not read it you do so and allow it to wash over you. I don't think you will regret it and I think you will thouroughly enjoy it.
I hope this review was of use to you:)
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 death... Unfortunate when you consider that this is set in the years following Pearl Harbour and a degree of racism is still trite in the community- particularly amongst the victim's family.
The book itself was hard to put down, though a little wordy in places on some of the descriptions. It was atmospheric and moving and you quickly find yourself getting involved in the narrative and becoming caught up in the `community' of fictional San Piedro and just wondering if the suspect really is guilty or not. The `courtroom' aspects of the novel evoked just the right amount of suspense too- overall an enjoyable read.
The novel deals with 2 great themes – the consequences of war and personal redemption. The central characters were at school together. Three went off to war. Ismael CHAMBERS loses an arm and is consumed with guilt as the only survivor of his platoon. He also carries bitterness after being rejected by Hatsue IMADA, a beautiful Japanese American girl. Kabuo MIYAMOTO enlisted in the Marines and cannot come to terms with killing Japanese soldiers in the Pacific. He married IMADA after the war and, so, is hated by CHAMBERS. Carl HEINE, a fisherman, returns a hero but will not talk about the war.
As the Japanese Americans return to the island after internment, they find their homes, jobs and place in the community changed. Carl HEINE’s mother reneges on a pre-war promise to sell farming land to the MIYAMOTO family. HEINE is murdered whilst out fishing. MIYAMOTO is charged with the murder. This sets the scene.
The narrative is a drive to the redemption of Ismael CHAMBERS.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous book! Complex characters and an interesting story about something that I knew nothing about. Very well written and atmospheric too.Published 2 months ago by fiona gilson
Excellent read! Not a new title (first published 20 years ago this year), but well worth seeking out. Gripping tale of an island community in the post-WWII period. Read morePublished 3 months ago by S. F. Segal
A beautifully written book but I found it incredibly sad. I ached for all the main characters and I so hoped it would lighten up as the story progressed. Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. J. Hale
I really enjoyed this book. I found it hard to put down and the prose is delightful and paints a beautiful scene. Definitely one of my favourite books of all time.Published 7 months ago by Patrick Nott
Beautifully written, but a bit drawn out. I would not have described it as a "thiriller".Published 9 months ago by Barbara Marshall