Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars

Book - 1994 | 1st ed.
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A “finely wrought, flawlessly written” novel (New York Times Book Review), set on a small island in the Puget Sound, that is “at various moments a courtroom drama, an interracial love story, and a war chronicle” (San Francisco Chronicle). “Guterson has fashioned something haunting and true” (Pico Iyer, Time). Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. A fall 1999 major motion picture.

Baker & Taylor
In 1954, Ishmael Chambers, a local reporter who lost an arm in the war, covers the murder trial of a Japanese-American fisherman, whose wife had been Ishmael's boyhood sweetheart

Harcourt Publishing
A “finely wrought, flawlessly written” novel (New York Times Book Review), set on a small island in the Puget Sound, that is “at various moments a courtroom drama, an interracial love story, and a war chronicle” (San Francisco Chronicle). “Guterson has fashioned something haunting and true” (Pico Iyer, Time). Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. A fall 1999 major motion picture.

Blackwell North Amer
On San Piedro, an island of rugged, spectacular beauty in Puget Sound, home to salmon fishermen and strawberry farmers, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial, charged with coldblooded murder. The year is 1954, and the shadow of World War II, with its brutality abroad and internment of Japanese Americans at home, hangs over the courtroom. Ishmael Chambers, who lost an arm in the Pacific war and now runs the island newspaper inherited from his father, is among the journalists covering the trial - a trial that brings him close, once again, to Hatsue Miyomoto, the wife of the accused man and Ishmael's never-forgotten boyhood love.
Hatsue and Ishmael, in the years before the war came between them, had dug clams together, picked strawberries in San Piedro's verdant fields, and passed long hours in the secrecy of a giant hollow cedar tree. Now, as a heavy snowfall surrounds and impedes the progress of Kabuo Miyomoto's trial, they and the other participants must come to a reckoning with the past, with culture, nature, and love, and with the possibilities of the human will. Both suspenseful and beautifully crafted, Snow Falling on Cedars portrays the psychology of a community, the ambiguities of justice, the racism that persists even between neighbors, and the necessity of individual moral action despite the indifference of nature and circumstance.

& Taylor

Ishmael Chambers, a newspaperman from the Pacific Northwest who lost an arm in World War II, reunites with his childhood sweetheart, Hatsue Imada, whom he was separated from by the Japanese-American internment, when Imada's husband is tried for murder.

Publisher: San Diego : Harcourt Brace, c1994.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780151001002
Characteristics: x, 345 p. ; 24 cm.


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Mar 05, 2019

There are too tedious and unnecessary long descriptions of what is happening in court room.

Oct 29, 2018

Insightful exploration of the struggles of Japanese-Americans during the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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bidbid Jul 18, 2011

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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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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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