Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars

Book - 1995
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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
Publisher: Toronto : Random House of Canada Limited : c1995
ISBN: 9780679764021
067976402X
Branch Call Number: FIC Guter 3558
Characteristics: 460 p

Opinion

From Library Staff

Challenged for sexual content.

List - Freedom to Read Week
Blemenchick Feb 25, 2012

Objection: Sexual Content


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k
knuckleswanny
Apr 18, 2017

What a remarkably well written book! The character definition was very poignant and the silent suffering of newspaperman made me a believer. I felt as if I knew him and was very pleased with the choices made.

s
shayshortt
Mar 09, 2017

Snow Falling on Cedars is somewhat of a murder mystery, even though it is more ponderously paced than most pager-turners of that genre. Rather, it is more concerned with how human nature shapes such an investigation and prosecution, subtly or not so subtly dictated by preconceived notions and the weight of the past. The truth is slowly revealed, even while the reader is left with the impression of how easily it could have been buried forever.

Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2017/03/09/snow-falling-on-cedars/

l
lukasevansherman
Jun 17, 2016

When I was working at a book store back in '96, everyone was reading this. Somehow, I'm just getting around to it. I'm going to disagree a bit with the other reviews; I though the writing was rather pedestrian and the plotting uneven. First time novelist and Pacific Northwesterner David Guterson's story is set on a small Washington island where the tensions between the Japanese and the Anglo population come to a head when a Japanese fisherman is accused of murder. It's a love story, a legal thriller, a war tale, a murder mystery, a social justice novel. It's maybe too much and Gutertson flails around trying to weave in so many themes, plots, and time periods. But, hey, what do I know? It won the PEN/Faulkner award and was made into a film in 1999. Followed by "Sleet Resting on Maples."

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 18, 2014

A murder triggers memories of World War II, family feuds, racial tensions and star-crossed lovers. Set on an isolated San Juan Island, this is a mystery full of heart and soul.

b
broo
Oct 20, 2014

On an island in Puget Sound, in 1954, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial for murder. Here, despite the beautiful setting, the shadow of World War II -- especially the internment of Japanese Americans -- still hangs over the courtroom.

z
zaire189
Jul 23, 2012

Very engaging. The author beautifully created a book with a mixture of history and mystery. Highly recommend this book.

NancyWilliams Jul 01, 2012

This was the best book I have read in a while - and I am reading something all the time. I don't know which I enjoyed more, the story or the author's exquisite wiriting. Together they are a terrific read. I'm sure I will find it hard to follow up with another book I enjoy as much as this one for some time. Highly recommend this book.

j
jeannep
Jul 01, 2012

My mother grew up on Bainbridge Island during the internment of the Japanese Americans and it was interesting to recognize the locales throughout the book. I loved the story, beautifully written and inspiring.

mikereilly Jun 26, 2012

Poetic prose, complex characters and a richly described landscape support a love story set against a murder trial. Hard to put down.

dragonsnakes Mar 04, 2011

Excellent book - highly recommended, well written

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bidbid Jul 18, 2011

bidbid thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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s
shayshortt
Mar 09, 2017

t is 1954, and Japanese-American World War II veteran Kabuo Miyamoto has been charged with the murder of fellow fisherman and veteran Carl Heine. His trial begins in the midst of a snow storm that has struck the town of Amity Harbour, on the island of San Piedro off the coast of Washington State. Reporting on the trial is Ishmael Chambers, who inherited the small local paper from his father when he returned from the war. Carl was a solo gill-netter fisherman, and his body was pulled from the ocean, caught in his own nets, after the boat was found drifting off the coast on a foggy September morning. In the grip of the snow storm and the trial, the islanders are forced to face old grudges and deep seated prejudices as the evidence against Kabuo mounts.

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s
shayshortt
Mar 09, 2017

She was of this place and she was not of this place, and though she might desire to be an American, it was clear, as her mother said, that she had the face of America’s enemy and would always have such a face.

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