Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

About the book

In 1954 a fisherman is found dead in the nets of his boat, and a local Japanese-American man is charged with his murder. In the course of his trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than one man’s guilt. For on San Piedro, memories grow as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries – memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and a Japanese girl; 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.

Reviewed by  Woodlands Reading Group :

A little difficult to get into, but well worth the effort. The unfolding courtroom drama and the personal relationships complicated by racial prejudices made fascinating reading. Atmospheric description of scenery and lifestyles

Rating: ****

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11 thoughts on “Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson”

  1. Review by Jennie’s Friends Reading Group :
    Each one of enjoyed this book. We were impressed by the poetry of the language. Also the juxta position of the two ethnic groups – and how war affected the finely balanced community
    Rating: ****

  2. Review by Milford Reading Group:
    A very good read investigating not only a crime but also prejudice, love both childish – mature, morality, the results of immigration and internment. Much discussion ensued on these themes. Some of the language was beautifully descriptive and the characters well drawn. The description of the island and sense of place, the fishing camaraderie, strawberry fields etc was excellent.
    Star rating: *** (definite 3 verging on 4)

  3. Review by Petersfield U3A – 6:
    A well written, drawn out and complex thriller involving race relations, fishing, Seattle and district. Well drawn stereotype characters showing life there in all its aspects fifty years ago. Suspense well held despite length. A rich tapestry of simple people in unfamiliar situations.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by Brockenhurst Reading Group :
    This book received a high rating from the whole group. An interesting and different novel with several themes and racism. Long lost young love. People’s perceptions and readiness to jump to conclusions. Also, interesting to read about a different area of the USA.
    Star rating: ****

  5. Review by Solent U3A Reading Group:
    Very enjoyable book. Well worth reading, full of interesting facts of the cultures of the people. Well written.
    Star rating: ***

  6. Review by Blackwater Valley U3A:
    We all enjoyed this book. The descriptions were beautiful and the characters interesting. That period in history in USA is not one we are familiar with so it was very thought provoking.
    Star rating: ***

  7. Review by Knackered Mums Reading Group:
    A beautifully descriptive book highlighting an area of history we didn’t know much about. A great read!
    Star rating: ****

  8. Review by Cambridge Reading Group:
    This book completely divided our group – a bit like Marmite they either loved it or hated it. Perhaps it was not a good book to have over the Christmas period as there are a lot of very descriptive passages. Those of us who loved it got really involved in it and enjoyed the whole premise of the story being told during a trial. A very interesting insight into American/Japanese relationships in this period of time.
    Star rating: ***

  9. Review by Elderberries WI Reading Group
    The controversy between the American fishermen and their Japanese immigant neighbours when a local fisherman is found dead in his boat. After much antagonism the death was explained. Much sailing and fishing information and treatment of the Japanese in the recent war.
    Star rating: **

  10. Review by Milford-on-Sea U3A Mondays
    Best book in 18 months of the group. Lyrical language and vivid pictures. Opens our mind to skills, countries and history we know nothing about. Long discussion on the interaction of different cultures.
    **** 4 stars

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