Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson

10 06 2008


An intriguing read set in 1954 about a Japanese man that is on trial for murder. The book takes you back to the beginnings of World War 2 and the Japanese-Americans being relocated to confinement camps…it takes you through lost lands, loves and limbs, through glimpse of the characters lives…If you enjoy descriptive reading, then you’ll enjoy this. It doesn’t move super quickly, but it’s also not a boring read…I found it enjoyable…cover price is $14.95 here in the US, I fortunately got it on a buy one get one free sale at Barnes & Noble , so I didn’t actually pay anything for it, however, it still would have been worth it…it’s also worthy to note that it is a recipient of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award…overall, I’d give it 4 stars for easy readability and it’s ability to drag you into every scene, whether you want to go or not…the characters are all very unique, and as much as the evidence points to the main character, Kabuo Miyamoto’s guiltiness, you’ll find yourself hoping for his innocence.  Even the hard-knock journalist Ishmael Chambers is likable…it’s hard to not like him despite his desolate outlook on the world…even though he’s been through horrible unimaginable things (like losing an arm) he’s still a good person, even though he struggles with a lot of internal conflicts…the book spends a lot of time examining the psyches of these people, which adds to the descriptiveness of the book, but also aids in making the reader become part of the book…I realize I’m probably rambling a lot and it’s not exactly a book review my high school English teacher would have accepted, but…it is a good book that I’d recommend…and for some other reviews by some more affluent, good-with-words reviewers, in all fairness though, I should let you know I only picked the ones that I agreed with…


“Luminous…a beautifully assured and full-bodied novel [that] becomes a tender examination of fairness and forgiveness…. Guterson has fashioned something haunting and true.” –Pico Iyer, Time


“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


“Guterson uses a rich scenario and cast of characters to explore issues much deeper than the usual. Like the snowfall that is its constant refrain, Snow Falling On Cedars builds up gradually, steadily, surrounding the reader with its magic.” –Newsday


“Intriguing…. At various moments a courtroom drama, an interracial love story, and a war chronicle. Guterson melds these components into a novel that explores how individuals and communities abuse, retreat from, or use their histories as motivating forces. Vividly written.” –San Francisco Chronicle