Snow Falling on Cedars

I’m incredibly behind on book reviews, which is funny because it’s not like someone’s paying me to write them and only about 8 of you are reading them, but this little book blog is my gift to myself, and I want to write about each book I read.

I went through a long, long phase of not reading books because of children and work and moving.  But about a year ago, I started reading again, and now I’m reading like a maniac.  Not my old pace of a book every day or two, but certainly at least a book a week, and usually more.  It’s kind of distracting, since I’m supposed to work and take care of the kids and sleep, but instead I’m pretending that I’m sorting the laundry and sneaking in a page.

Last weekend, we went out to breakfast.  The kids were maniacal, and my husband looked over at me, annoyed.  “What are you doing?” he demanded.

I snapped my head up from the iPhone in my lap, which I thought I had so cleverly hidden.  “Just reading the last chapter of Pride and Prejudice.”  Totally caught red-handed reading Jane Austen while allowing my husband to deal with three kids in a restaurant.

This, however, is not a review of Austen who is the bomb and does not need me to say any more.  This is a review of David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars.  All of you have probably read it, but I’m just now catching up.

If you haven’t read it, you should know that it is filled with beautiful images of woods and strawberry fields and the sensuousness of a woman.  A Japanese-American woman, blossoming into her fullness and beloved of a passionate white American man.  (Yes, that sentence is meant to be read rather wryly.)  It’s a bit much, all the sensual imagery, honestly.  The man really could have made the point with somewhat less detail and not an insignificant reduction in words.

That said, it’s an imaginative and enjoyable read, and it brings up questions of justice, passion, love, and truth.  It breathes life into the Japanese interment, a period of time that for many Americans is just a chapter (if that) in our history books.

Jane Austen it’s not.  It takes itself a little too seriously.  Nonetheless, worth sloughing through all those words that underscore the difficulty of that shameful moment in American history.


3 responses to “Snow Falling on Cedars

  1. I didn’t even know you had this blog. In the middle of that I saw “Barbara Kingsolver” on the right and got side tracked by the link, sorry. I love to read. I am currently involved in two book clubs, slogging through because isn’t that the point, you’re supposed to read books you maybe wouldn’t ordinarily choose on your own? Expanding your horizons and all? That being said, in one of them, last month’s book was “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. The only thing I could think to discuss about it was that it’s based on “Pride and Prejudice”.

    I feel like I found a treasure today – I’m going to spend the day reading your reviews. And “Snow Falling on Cedars”? I read it years ago, but that pretty much sums up how I felt about it. A little too arty, not enough guts.

  2. You know, I never read this one. It was a bestseller back in the days when I worked in a bookstore, and I had a stubborn resistance to reading bestsellers. I don’t even remember ever knowing it involved the internment. That part actually interests me. I may well decide to read it one of these days, just on that count. I appreciate the warning on the overdone imagery, though!

  3. Snow Falling on Cedars is in the very large pile of books next to my bed, so I’ll get to it. Thanks for your review – I now know to be in a lush mood for all the sensual imagery.

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