Book A Day: Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Day 10:

Snow Falling on Cedars

I bought this novel when it was released in its movie tie in format. Both the film and the novel are stunning. This is a story that is as simple as it is complex; deeply atmospheric in its isolated setting. The snow, so deep and never-ending, is one of the things I remember solidly from this novel. And regret. There was so much regret present, intermingled with tragedy. It has a permanent place on my shelves, but it might be one I need to dig out again to refresh on the details.

Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric—a masterpiece of suspense which leaves us shaken and changed.

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award 1995 and the 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 Piedro, 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 neighbours watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense—one that leaves us shaken and changed.

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