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Snow Falling on Cedars [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

David Guterson , B.D. Wong
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (604 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 26 1999
Read by B.D. Wong
Three CDs, 3 Hours


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.

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From Amazon

Ishmael Chambers, the one-man staff of the newspaper on San Piedro Island in Puget Sound, is covering the 1954 trial of a high school classmate accused of killing another classmate over a land dispute. Actor Peter Marinker--a stage veteran who has appeared in such movies as The Russia House and The Emerald Forest--takes us deep inside the world created by David Guterson in his award-winning 1994 novel. We learn the sensory details of life in a small fishing community; the emotional lives of people scarred inside and out by World War II; and the deep and unresolved prejudices toward the island's Japanese Americans, who were interned during the war--a tragedy that led to financial advantage for some islanders. Marinker deliberately but nimbly moves from the characters' distinctive voices to the poignant interior perspectives of the soulful, wounded Chambers as he tells a combination love story, murder mystery, and painful history lesson. (Running time: 15 hours, 10 cassettes) --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

First-novelist Guterson presents a multilayered courtroom drama set in the aftermath of the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guterson has Invented a New Meaning for "Novel" Dec 16 2001
By Ames
As a book I could not find myself to set down, "Snow Falling on Cedars" stands as the most in-depth book I have ever read. With no pieces missing in the plot, the puzzle fits together in a way most books do not. "Snow Falling on Cedars" illustrates every human emotion possible and shows every depth of a human heart. Impeccably written, this book stays close to my heart as a book that taught me countless lessons.
Perhaps the most effective part of the book is the characters and their stories. The author David Guterson develops each character entirely; every character seems as a main character and each of their histories are told throughout the book. In the beginning it seems as if they have no relation to each other, like they live in completely opposite worlds. Then as the book further develops, it becomes lucid they all weave together, their stories and lives intertwined as one. The conclusion ties everything together and writes the whole meaning of the book flat out. This book digs into the depths of love with a tear-jerking love story, the humiliation and pain of racism with a story about the Japanese in America during World War II, and an endless and inexplicable murder mystery thought to tie into both of them.
As I read into this book, I felt myself falling into their world in the Island of San Piedro. I felt involved in their past, then as the book jumped into the present I could not wait to read the truth about the murder trial of Carl Heine. I felt emotional when a man's heart broke, when an American spoke cruelly toward a man of Japanese decent, and when a woman lost her husband whom she loved far more than anything.
Affecting me in so many ways, the lessons this book taught me seemed unending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece and thought provoking Jan. 22 2006
By A Customer
I really love this book. I could not put this book down and found myself reading it until 3 o'clock in the morning. I love David Gutterson is a master of storytelling. The best book I have ever read and I will keep this book forever. I also saw the movie and was absolutely moved by it but the book tells everything. I love Ishmael and the love of his life.
I wish there is another sequel to it, maybe when they get old they get back together.
Thanks David you are the best.
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By EriKa
Many years passed between my viewing the film version of Snow Falling on Cedars and finally reading the book one morning when I was at a friend's house, awake many hours before she was. I was impressed by the stunning, detailed descriptions of landscapes, people (physically and mentally), and I appreciated the detailed way the story unfolded. Comparing the book to the film (which is always a bad idea), I can say that I enjoyed both. The book offers eloquent descriptions of characters, so you understand them with greater depth. Particularly important are the elegant portrayals of Kabuo, Hatsue, and Ishmael, and the narrative relies on flashback sequences to convey the characters' relationships to each other and to reveal the history of why each character is how he or she is. In the film, for example, Ishmael's bitterness is not fully developed, and Kabuo's character is not fleshed out well either. It was, for example, impossible for the movie to convey Kabuo's feelings as expressed in the book, e.g. "He had meant to project to the jurors his innocence, he's wanted them to see that his spirit was haunted," and, "It had seemed to Kabuo that his detachment from this world was somehow self-explanatory." Although the manner in which both Kabuo and Ishmael had been affected by the war was touched on in the film, the book delved deeply into these matters. The book helps bring the scenery and the people to life far more than the movie "incarnation" possibly could. That much is to be expected.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MODERN DAY CLASSIC IN ITS OWN WAY April 9 2004
Having waited almost ten years to read this book, I found myself wondering why I had waited so long. SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS is a beautifully written tale of love, hate, deceit, hope, despair and mystery. David Guterson fleshes out his characters so brilliantly, one can't help but feel like they are visiting with people they see every day. It's hard to single out one character as more compelling than others, but there are several extremely original ones: Carl Heine, the victim, a strong, yet silent man, who wants to give his family a home to be proud of, who fishes only because there's little else to do; Ishmael Chambers, the newspaperman/war veteran, whose silent love of the defendant's wife brings him to a crossroads where life and death meet; Hatsue, the wife, whose recognition of her true feelings for Ishmael may have been brought about by circumstances alone. The book also shows a side of our American history that in retrospect is so shameful, in the way we treated Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. While one can readily understand our nation's fear at this time, herding them off to work camps with such despicable conditions was no way to treat these people. A tale of prejudice, indeed, yet within there are people whose love for each other carries them through.
SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS is a quiet, slow-moving, yet mesmerizing tale, and it's resolution, while acceptable, still leaves one feeling the sense of loss and hope that accompanied the tale.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Truth and reconciation
Loved this book. Our book club read it and we were all in agreement. Great writing style. Treated a difficult part of our history with sensitivity, honesty and humour.
Published 6 months ago by Jane MacKeen
4.0 out of 5 stars Vivid and Beautiful
The year is 1954 and Kabuo Miyamoto a Japanese American fisherman is standing trial for murder in small town in Puget Sound Washington. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2008 by Teddy
3.0 out of 5 stars Snow Falling on Cedars
Carl Heine a local fisherman is found dead tangled up in his fishing net. The sheriff takes the body to be examined and the corner finds a head trauma that reminds him of the type... Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2008 by Pauline
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant even today
With all that is going on in the world, somehow SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS is extremely relevant. Thankfully we learned something about the Japanese interrment during WWII and how not... Read more
Published on May 28 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive
A beautifully written and crafted book. Through the story of a Japanese man on trial for the murder of a fisherman, Guterson brings to life the people of a remote island... Read more
Published on May 26 2004 by J. Jacobs
2.0 out of 5 stars too slow paced
Tried this one because I like John Grisham, Robert Goddard, etc. This books starts off real well, but is too slow paced overall. Read more
Published on May 20 2004 by Emmanuel Lambert
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and real
World War II sets the stage for this compelling and different tale. It's the 1950s, in Washington state, and the tensions between the Japanese and Americans is still thick in the... Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Wordy for My Tastes
The first page of the novel caught my attention. I found myself with a vivid image of the character introduced. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by "mightyredtulip"
4.0 out of 5 stars Not commercial pacing, but lingering and thought provoking.
The setting is an island off the Washington Coast during the 1950's. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautifully descriptive passages of the landscape and the snowy setting. Read more
Published on Dec 10 2003 by Barbara
4.0 out of 5 stars Strawberry time
I was bored at Borders one time, so I decided to pick up the book. I had heard it was an "read once, forget" kinda of book. But, nope! Not at all! Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003 by S. Xu
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