September 30, 2016

Looking Back - Snow Falling on Cedars

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
1995 Vintage Contemporaries
Finished on November 15, 1996
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)

Publisher's Blurb:

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 one 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 neighbors watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense--but one that leaves us shaken and changed.

My Original Notes (1996):

Great novel! I couldn't put it down, once I got into it. At first I didn't care for it because it jumps around quite a bit. After I got used to the style, it was much easier to make the mental transition in time. Very enlightening to the Japanese-American experience during World War II. The murder mystery and courtroom suspense were well done. The descriptions of the geography and nautical lifestyle very also very interesting.

I chose this book for our reading group and am curious to hear how the others liked it. I bought a copy to give to my dad for Christmas. I thought he'd enjoy the nautical details, as well as the local interest (Puget Sound/Seattle).

My Current Thoughts:

Oh, this was such a good book! I'm pretty sure that I've read it more than just once and I know that I've seen the movie, although I don't remember too many details about the film other than I think it followed the book quite well. I love the Pacific Northwest and plan to read this again since I'm more familiar with the area than I was 20 years ago. Also, the details about the murder mystery are long forgotten, so it will almost feel like I'm reading a new book. :)

Final Thoughts:

Part historical fiction, part mystery with a strong sense of place, this one's a winner! Putting my copy back on my "keeper" shelf!


  1. All I remember is that I loved this one... maybe it's time for a reread :)

    1. JoAnn, if that's all you remember, then I'd say it's definitely time for a reread. :)

  2. I loved this one, too! I read a couple other Guterson novels around then, too! This was the best one. And then he fell off my radar.

    1. Kelly, I read East of the Mountains and (I think!) Our Lady of the Forest. I think I enjoyed East of the Mountains (I'll come across it in a book journal as I continue with these posts), but I sure don't remember much about it.

  3. I remember when this book was a bestseller. I've never read it but I think I bought a copy of it.

    1. Kathy, if you have a copy (or even if you don't!), I highly recommend this book. It's quite good and very thought provoking!

  4. This book was everywhere the year it came out. I remember reading it but not reviewing it. I wish I had.

    1. Maybe it's time to read it a second time. Then you could review it. :)


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