Bookmarks: On-screen can’t beat print
“Snow Falling On Cedars” by David Guterson is a random choice, but it is a book I’ve had for quite some time and it is one I always come back to. I have never actually seen the movie, but I’m sure the rule “the book is always better” applies, as two hours is not enough time to do this book justice.
If you choose to read “Snow Falling on Cedars,” the best thing to keep in mind is the historical context. This novel is set in the 1950s, shortly after WWII, when racial prejudice against Japanese people was still as much a part of life as any daily routine. Keeping that in mind, the rest of the novel makes much more sense. The romance, the mystery, all the flashbacks described in the book are based on the principle of prejudice and how the large cast of characters respond and deal with it.
The main story is a murder trial. A white fisherman was found dead and a Japanese man is on trial for his death. However, the bulk of the novel is the backstory of all the people in that specific island off of Puget Sound, Wash. state. “Snow Falling on Cedars” ties together the past and present of the inhabitants of this tiny island, displaying them as almost a microcosm, unaffected and untouched by the rest of the state, much less the world. Even the men that came home damaged by WWII, fell back into the isolation of San Piedro Island and try to reestablish life as it was.
“Snow Falling on Cedars” is so well done, it stands out as a novel. David Guterson’s writing pulls you into a scene and lets you live and breathe in it. You have the time to feel what the characters are feeling, you can almost predict what the dialogue is going to be, but Guterson is not a writer for predictability. There are a few events that you expect, then are words spoken that weren’t, but it all just builds the book to be that much more memorable. Like I said, it’s one of my favorites.