In 1962, when mild-mannered actuary Walter Cousins sleeps with the sharp-tongued, not-quite-legal British au pair Diane Burroughs, he can have no sense of the magnitude of his error. For the brief affair sets in motion a tragedy of epic proportions. At the centre is Ed King, an infant given up for adoption who becomes one of the richest and most powerful men. But beneath the gripping story of Ed's seemingly inexorable rise to fame and fortune is a dark and unsettling destiny.
I read Snow Falling on Cedars quite a while ago and really enjoyed it. It has remained in my favourite books list since then. I recall that David Guterson's second book was good but not so memorable. So after a period of many years I recently checked out the listing for David Guterson and saw this in Audible. I also really enjoyed this book; but it is so different from Snow Falling on Cedars that it is hard to accept that the same author wrote it. The style is just so different! All credit to the author to be able to produce such different books and yet create masterpieces. I won't detail any of the storyline - I wouldn't want to spoil any aspect of the story for the listener. It is so cleverly put together and has a terrific twist and that is all I am going to say. A great read (or should I say story to have read to you!).
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
An actuary has an affair with the nanny, leading to the unwanted pregnancy and baby Ed. Ed is adopted and we follow him and the various members of his adoptive and birth families as they grow and unwittingly cross paths. Can't really say too much, without giving away vital plot spoilers!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What would have made Ed King better?
If he had kept it up the way it started. It deteriorated after the first episode and the final third of the book terrible.
What was most disappointing about David Guterson’s story?
I was really surprised how that I disliked this novel as I thought Snow on Cedars was excellent and East of the Mountains was nearly as good. Although it has a few interesting moments and some witty observations, it just didn't engage at all. None of the characters was likeable, nor do we get into their lives because the events are skimmed over like a summary.This novel reminded me of the film Royal Tenenbaums. It has the same slightly facetious air but, whereas the film is consistent, it felt to me that Guterson couldn't decide whether it was to be serious or a parody. It shifts between serious moments and slapstick, which might work if it was funny but it wasn't, and I don't think it was even trying to be funny.
What didn’t you like about William Hope’s performance?
His English accent for Diane, one of the leading characters, is so bad I found it genuinely unpleasant to listen to. In fact he has a peculiar way of making all of the dialogue sound facetious. At first I didn't mind but it got progressively more annoying. He also frequently drops the volume, which means if you listen in the car you suddenly can't hear. Sometimes he uses a range of expression but it is inappropriate expression and by the end it was grating on me like someone scraping their nails on a blackboard.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Ed King?
I would have told him to go back to writing stories like Snow on Cedars, then I would have got the reader who read it.
Any additional comments?
I hate to be negative to an author I previously rated so highly, but for me this was a total flop.