©1996 David Guterson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Guterson is everything a writer should be. This story is deep and wide. Characters are revealed bit by bit as he delves into their past. He draws in the influence of WW2, ten years past in this story, as well as the cultural tensions of a Pacific NW island in a narrative centred around the murder trial of a fisherman. On top of an incredible tapestry of personalities and history he layers a freak storm that takes the town to it's limits.
It's beautifully read by Peter Marinker who does a great job of bringing each character their own voice without getting too special. For a guy with a relatively gruff voice his treatment of female characters is particularly noteworthy for it's seamless integration.
I think the print version was better, but I usually do for any book.
A bit distracting
The reader's frequent mispronunciation of words was distracting, and was his speaking as young men and girls was a bit annoying. I don't think I would get another book narrated by him.
"An excellent read and an excellent novel"
I recommend the audio version. The reading is first rate, sensitive, gentle and a decent rendition of the different dialogue voices.
I rarely read courtroom dramas or watch courtroom films. They are nearly always too simplistic and one-sided. This one is the even-handed so you can understand and appreciate the position of all the different people involved.
I thoroughly recommend this. It portrays the community beautifully and gives a very satisfying feeling of being in touch with the universal humanity of the many different interconnected lives it traces.
"Compelling if unusual book"
This is an unusual mxiture of a books - part detective mystery/courtroom drama, part love story, part social commmentary on racism towards Japanese immigrants to America during WWII and beyond. Rather bleak and you know that anything close to a happy ending is going to be hard to resolve - perhaps a homage to the Oriental approach to narrative where the 'happy ending' is not so much the boy and girl riding off into the sunset together but the knowledge that they have endured suffering with honour and not disgraced themselves or their families. But a very moving and very compelling book.
"The dullest book I've read in years."
Like a meticulously painted portrait with elegant brush strokes and refined accuracy but not a hint of passion, humanity, excitement or soul. Entirely unable to capture the personality or motivation of the subject.
It doesn't help that the reader drones on as if weary of telling his tale but in the end the lengthy and gratuitous descriptions sucked the life out of the story. Everything was written, the whole story told but not one of the characters inspired any conviction in me.
I got so I didn't care if he was guilty or not and the ending felt as if the author didn't really care either.
"A wonderful novel"
This is a profoundly human and moral book, which made a compelling listen as narrated by Peter Marinker. At all levels - love story, thriller, courtroom drama, it is an intensely involving and deeply textured narrative. Beyond all this, the portrait of a community and the tensions of identity and prejudice within it are explored with sensitivity and a real knowledge of a particular time and place. San Pedro Island, further isolated by a long snow storm, accentuates the isolation of the characters, variously trapped by accident, fate and their experience of war. Only their capacity to grow as human beings can redeem their lives. The individual stories are unfolded and entwined in the overall story with great tact and inspired plotting. The suspense of the final chapters I found almost unbearable, and couldn't imagine how the author would bring off an ending that could satisfy artistically and emotionally - until he does achieve just that.
The writing is beautiful and poetic, descriptions of snow and setting mesmeric at times, and, if anything, even enhanced by Marinker's sensitive reading.
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