Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Snow Falling on Cedars

by David Guterson

I read this book as part of My Cozy Book Nook's Summer Vacation Reading Challenge. Here is my original list and other reviews for this challenge.

In 1954, on San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, a Japanese American is on trial for the murder of a local fisherman. Coming so soon after the events of World War II, specifically, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the evacuation of the island’s Japanese descendants to interment camps, the proceedings are just a little twisted. Add to this a long ago romantic connection between two people closely related to the case and you have a story.

The story jumps from the trial to the investigation to events occurring before and during the war. This is the only thing that keeps the story interesting. I could not get into the story at all, probably because I did not like the characters very much. In fact, I really didn’t care what happened to them in the end. They seemed lifeless and passionless for such important events to be taking place. One of the reasons I kept reading was because I knew something dramatic just had to happen, but it never did.

The writing however was excellent. I enjoyed the descriptions of the scenery of the Pacific Northwest. I specifically enjoyed how the author set the stage for the snow storm that takes place during the trial. The flashback scenes were some of the best in the book. From the Manzanar interment camp to the island battlefields of the war, the descriptions and writing were what kept me reading the book.

Rating - C+


  1. They look ready for summer fun!

  2. Sorry -- thought I was commenting on your WW. I hear your frustration with Snow Falling on Cedars. I haven't read it yet, but have read other books where I've had a similar reaction.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this book when I read it. But from what I remember, I also had difficulty relating to most of the characters. I think the thing that pulled me is was the prose and all the interesting details -- about the ocean, boats, fishing, strawberry farming, and of course WWII and the internment camps. I love it when fiction opens doors to new knowledge.

  4. I have a copy of this waiting on my shelves. I'm interested now to see if I think the same thing about it as you and the previous commenter. I saw the film when it came out, I didn't know it was a book. So I've let a few years go by to try and forget the details from the film. I'm keen to get to it now. Thanks for reviewing it.