Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson...an appropriate book to review today as we're having a snow day. It's nice and fluffy white outside.
I've been slacking on the blog for the last week or so...I blame it on books. I've already busted out four so far this year and I'm getting close to finishing up number five. I think perhaps I learned my lesson from last year's failure to fill the entire bracket. I had to completely change up how I'm selecting the 2012 BOTY. Never fear though, I have it all ironed out and I know which book ended up winning the prize. You'll know in the next few weeks. It's a good one.
Snow Falling on Cedars is set post-WWII in Puget Sound. Carl Heine, a local fisherman, has been found dead on his boat and homicide is suspected. On the small island of San Piedro racial tensions are still high and those in the Japanese American community are still not viewed as equals by many.
The primary suspect Carl's death is a fellow fisherman, a man he grew up with -- Kabuo Miyamoto. There was family history between Kabuo's father and Carl's, a struggle over land ownership. The creation of internment camps for the Japanese during WWII forced Kabuo's family to leave their home and they found their land otherwise occupied when they returned. The community suspects that perhaps anger over this situation has led Kabuo to commit murder.
In the midst of the trial, the entire island becomes blanketed in a snow storm that effectively cuts them off from the rest of the world. The trial now finds center stage, the case developing and playing out in a fish bowl.
I liked the book. I didn't love it. The writing was good, the story was good. I guess it just wasn't quite for me. There seemed to be something missing and I found that the tying together of the side plots was a little weak, leaving the flow of the book somewhat jumbled.
I think after reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, I had been tarnished slightly in my expectations of a story from this time period and culture. Hotel was just so wonderful that it made this book pale in comparison. I don't know though...as I sit here and write this, I almost feel like I should give this book a second chance. Perhaps if I had read Snow Falling on Cedars first, I would feel differently. I had the same kind of feelings when I initially gave it a rating.
I was torn between a 3 and a 4. Because there is no 3.5, I ultimately wound up rounding it down. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson got 3 out of 4 stars.