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.
David Guterson is the author of the novels East of the Mountains, Our Lady of the Forest, The Other, Ed King, and Snow Falling on Cedars, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award; a story collection, The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind; and Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense. He has three forthcoming books: a memoir, Descent, from Vintage in 2013; a new story collection, Problems with People, from Knopf in 2014; and a book of poems, Songs for a Summons, from Lost Horse Press in 2014. He lives in Washington State.
"Haunting. . . . A whodunit complete with courtroom maneuvering and surprising turns of evidence and at the same time a mystery, something altogether richer and deeper." -- Los Angeles Times