A young fisherman is found dead in the nets of his boat off an island in the Pacific Northwest. The novel tells of love and war and the ways men and women struggle for survival and redemption.
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. I discovered the hurt resulting from selfishness and the anguish caused by racism. I learned about accidents and forgiveness, and putting the past behind oneself. This book opened my eyes to the delicacy of a human heart and how easily one can shatter.
This captivating novel will forever hold a special place in my heart. I appreciated the book for everything it stood for and for every lesson I learned. I love the book for the characters presented and for the immaculate plot and conclusion. As a novel I will read many times over, "Snow Falling on Cedars" stays close to me as my own map to my very own heart.