Synopses & Reviews
On San Piedro, an island of rugged, spectacular beauty in Puget Sound, home to salmon fishermen and strawberry farmers, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial, charged with coldblooded murder. The year is 1954, and the shadow of World War II, with its brutality abroad and internment of Japanese Americans at home, hangs over the courtroom. Ishmael Chambers, who lost an arm in the Pacific war and now runs the island newspaper inherited from his father, is among the journalists covering the trial - a trial that brings him close, once again, to Hatsue Miyomoto, the wife of the accused man and Ishmael's never-forgotten boyhood love. Hatsue and Ishmael, in the years before the war came between them, had dug clams together, picked strawberries in San Piedro's verdant fields, and passed long hours in the secrecy of a giant hollow cedar tree. Now, as a heavy snowfall surrounds and impedes the progress of Kabuo Miyomoto's trial, they and the other participants must come to a reckoning with the past, with culture, nature, and love, and with the possibilities of the human will. Both suspenseful and beautifully crafted, Snow Falling on Cedars portrays the psychology of a community, the ambiguities of justice, the racism that persists even between neighbors, and the necessity of individual moral action despite the indifference of nature and circumstance.
A “finely wrought, flawlessly written” novel (New York Times Book Review), set on a small island in the Puget Sound, that is “at various moments a courtroom drama, an interracial love story, and a war chronicle” (San Francisco Chronicle). “Guterson has fashioned something haunting and true” (Pico Iyer, Time). Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. A fall 1999 major motion picture.
On San Piedro, an island of rugged, spectacular beauty in Puget Sound, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial for murder. Set in 1954 in the shadow of World War II, Snow Falling on Cedars is a beautifully crafted courtroom drama, love story, and war novel, illuminating the psychology of a community, the ambiguities of justice, the racism that persists even between neighbors, and the necessity of individual moral action despite the indifference of nature and circumstance.