To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Snow Falling on Cedars: A Novel Paperback – Unabridged, September 26, 1995
|New from||Used from|
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Snow Falling on Cedars was an absorbing, thoroughly enjoyable read. At times an interracial romance, a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and a fictionalized chronicle of the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans, this book pulls the reader into an accurate rendering of life on an island in Puget Sound. The disparate aspects of the novel are seamlessly interwoven into a narrative that allows the reader to embrace the plot, the characters, and the dead-on descriptions of the physical characteristics of the novel's setting.
The novel is narrated by Ismael Chambers, the publisher of the only newspaper on San Piedro Island, the fictional stand-in for Bainbridge Island, Washington. The islanders are, with few exceptions, either strawberry farmers or Salmon fishermen. When a white fisherman dies under suspicious circumstances, the evidence points towards a Japanese-American fisherman who was the last person to see the dead man alive. Ishmael's boyhood romance with Hatsue, the girl that later becomes the accused man's wife, provides fertile material for interesting flashbacks to the early 1940s, when virtually all of the island's Japanese-American population was carted off to internment camps soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
I have always believed that one of the true marks of a great novelist is his/her ability to create believable characters of the opposite sex. Many well-respected writers fail at this task. In this novel, David Guterson's portrayal of Hatsue rings as true as any reader could hope for.
If you have seen the film based on the novel, please don't let its substantial shortcomings steer you away from this book, which is a must read for anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction.
This book, on the contrary, is an evocation of time and place. It is largely 'memory' even though it is not a first person narrative. It asks the reader to relax into a poetic reverie on who these people are and how they came to the situation upon which the plot turns. The author does not push the mystery element except as an excuse to uncover more information about his characters, their relationships and the origins of their current lives.
Not everyone enjoys this kind of book. Certainly those who gravitate towards Jackie Collins or John Grisham should not be expected to find this to their likeing. Even those who read only 'serious' literature have special tastes and only some will appreciate this.Read more ›
The story opens in a courtroom. Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese-American, has been arrested and is on trial for the murder of a local San Piedro fisherman. The core story follows the trial of Miyamoto, but the book brings in so much more. We get an interracial love story, a war story, and an unsolved mystery. All this is gradually and slowly unwrapped as the story about the people of San Piedro Island is told. Guterson has purposely chosen flashback as a way to tell the story to the different characters. An experiment that works quite well!
History has always fascinated me, and the topic on how the Japanese Americans was treated during World War II was especially interesting. I found the background information very helpful in understanding why the characters interacted with each other the way they did.
In summary this is a well-written novel, with realistic, flawed, sympathetic characters easy to identify with. At times very hard to put down.
The story begins in 1954 as a Japanese-American fisherman is on trial for murder. Kabuo Miyamoto is the chief suspect in the killing of fellow fisherman Carl Heine, because of a dispute over farm land. The entire book takes place on fictional San Piedro Island in Puget Sound. The inhabitants of this small island tend to be either gill-net fishermen or strawberry farmers. There are a number of Japanese on San Piedro, and there's an uneasy coexistence with the locals.
In flashbacks, Guterson takes us to life on the island prior to World War II. Living on the island could be hard, but rewarding. But things changed rapidly with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many Japanese men were sent to work camps. Soon after, the rest of them were relocated to internment camps. Many of the local boys (Japanese included) enlisted, and the author gives us glimpses of their war experiences. Those who returned home bore the scars of war, and these things set the stage for the murder trial.
This novel is so moving on so many levels. I was moved by the love story between Hatsue and Ishmael, two innocent teens who were kept apart by the prejudice of their parents generation. Guterson's love scenes were few, but tender. I was mortified by the ugly chapter in our nations past when American's of Japanese decent were herded into internment camps. Their treatment was deplorable. I was saddened by the continued prejudice toward the Japanese--even well after the war. My heart was also warmed by the heroic deeds performed by unlikely heroes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The framework of this absorbing novel set in 1954 is the murder trial of a Japanese-American fisherman, but it is more about the people and community on the fictitious San Piedro... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Scott Albin
Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson is a very mainstream, literary novel. I say this in the sense that it is written with just enough sophistication to transfer well to be... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eric Maroney
I loved this book. It was the story of a young man who falls in love with a young Japanese girl before WWII. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Carolann C. McGrath
One of the greatest stories of WWII. set in the Pacific NW. One sex scene that the publisher insisted the author insert to sell the book was totally unnecessary!! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Our Book club chose this one.A good history lesson about bias before,during and right after World War 2, along with a trial for Murder. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dolores Christensen
At first, I really liked this book. The first thirty pages, or so, moved along and I was genuinely interested in what I was reading. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Austin reader