Customer Reviews for

The Other

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Into The Cave I Stay

The Other is about John William Worthington Berry who isn¿t comfortable living in any world and because of this discomfort he is obsessed with death and living off the grid. John Twelve Hawks describes living off the grid superbly in his book ¿The Traveler¿. At sixteen ...
The Other is about John William Worthington Berry who isn¿t comfortable living in any world and because of this discomfort he is obsessed with death and living off the grid. John Twelve Hawks describes living off the grid superbly in his book ¿The Traveler¿. At sixteen John William meets Neil Countryman and together they explore their intensity and love for the outdoors. Berry drops out of college leaving the wealth of his family behind and becomes a hermit¿he craves out a cave and lives in it. Countryman becomes a teacher, gets married, and starts a family. The friendship is a true friendship yet it¿s a love-hate relationship. John considers Neil a sell-out and Neil feels enough is enough and spends years trying to talk John back into the world. As the story unfolds we learn how John William developed his way of thinking. The Other, for me, was not an easy read but an enjoyable one. After reading a chapter or two I had to pick up other books just to shake off its darkness. I believe readers who are interested in psychology or anthropology will enjoy The Other because it¿ll get their minds going. I wouldn¿t be surprised if The Other becomes required reading for students.

posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

I love books of nature and I went into this book with great expectations. Although some parts were brilliant and detailed very well, a lot of the book comes across as filler and have nothing to do with the plot. If you read a lot of books you will learn quickly what t...
I love books of nature and I went into this book with great expectations. Although some parts were brilliant and detailed very well, a lot of the book comes across as filler and have nothing to do with the plot. If you read a lot of books you will learn quickly what to skip and what matters in this novel. 256 pages were 56 pages too many.

posted by Anonymous on June 12, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2008

    Into The Cave I Stay

    The Other is about John William Worthington Berry who isn¿t comfortable living in any world and because of this discomfort he is obsessed with death and living off the grid. John Twelve Hawks describes living off the grid superbly in his book ¿The Traveler¿. At sixteen John William meets Neil Countryman and together they explore their intensity and love for the outdoors. Berry drops out of college leaving the wealth of his family behind and becomes a hermit¿he craves out a cave and lives in it. Countryman becomes a teacher, gets married, and starts a family. The friendship is a true friendship yet it¿s a love-hate relationship. John considers Neil a sell-out and Neil feels enough is enough and spends years trying to talk John back into the world. As the story unfolds we learn how John William developed his way of thinking. The Other, for me, was not an easy read but an enjoyable one. After reading a chapter or two I had to pick up other books just to shake off its darkness. I believe readers who are interested in psychology or anthropology will enjoy The Other because it¿ll get their minds going. I wouldn¿t be surprised if The Other becomes required reading for students.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2008

    A reviewer

    I love books of nature and I went into this book with great expectations. Although some parts were brilliant and detailed very well, a lot of the book comes across as filler and have nothing to do with the plot. If you read a lot of books you will learn quickly what to skip and what matters in this novel. 256 pages were 56 pages too many.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Didn't care for it.

    Enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars but not this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Off the grid

    Seeing the transformation John makes as he lives amongst the wild out doors is fantastic. Not Guterson's best work, but still a great read.

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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    Rich - But Unfulfilling

    I absolutely love David's writing style. He paints a vivid picture that evokes meories and emotions long forgotten. I felt like I was on the journey with the writer telling a true story. Unfortunately the story didn't really pay-off for me. A lot of time was spent filling in the back story in the second half of the book, but by the time we got there I still didn't completely understand either of the main characters motivations. It became just another bizarre intimate look at a life. Interesting - just not fulfilling of the promise. Maybe I missed the point.

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Curiously intriguing point of view

    We talked about unreliable narrators in our writing group a little while ago, and even tried an exercise using an unreliable point of view. Afterwards I tried to think of books that might illustrate the technique. Though I couldn't remember particular ones, I knew I'd read passages, maybe even whole books, written from the point of view of a self-absorbed beauty who thinks everyone loves her, a nervous investigator who thinks he'll never succeed, a religious preacher who's totally convinced of his own point of view. but I couldn't recall reading any literary fiction where the unreliable narrator told the whole tale. Then I read The Other, by David Guterson.

    I love Snow Falling on Cedars and Our Lady of the Forest, so I was expecting to find The Other would be similarly delightful. Instead I found something that read much more slowly and didactically, and a narrator who seems to totally miss the cues of normal human interaction.

    For a while, the story carries the narration. The detailed references to recent history and culture are fascinating. The scenery of Washington's backcountry is beautifully rendered. And the mysterious John William is sufficiently odd that we want to know what has happened / will happen to him. But it's when the narrator meets his future wife that the turning point is reached. Do we want to read more from this strange point of view-the details certainly entice-or do we simply not believe the story anymore? At this point, Neil Countryman, narrator, becomes something different from the everyman we might have imagined. His point of view is consistently odd, his loyalty prodigious, his diligent observation truly intriguing, but his assumptions about the thoughts and behavior of others almost deliberately miss the mark.

    The scenery's stunning. The forest is alive. The characters are real and wonderful-yes even Neil. And the story is one that stays after the last page is read, leaving readers to wonder, just what was it about Neal that drew them in, in spite of disbelief, and which person is the "other" of the title, tragic John or incurious Neal?

    I might not have finished the book were it not our book group's choice for last month. But I'm very glad I did. It's a slow, fascinating, absorbing read, with a perfectly rendered narrator who's wholly reliable and true to himself, but beautifully illustrates the power of unreliable narration.



    Disclosure: I bought this book in a bookstore because we'd chosen it for our group to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2010

    Who is "The Other"?

    Although Guterson can be a bit wordy at times, and there were parts of the novel that can be skimmed, overall this was an excellent read from an eloquent writer.

    Readers will find a little bit of John William in themselves. His dissatifaction with the world and its materialism is at the forefront of current events today and gives the reader a lot of food for thought. Neil Countryman is provides a better representation of the average Joe and most readers will easily identify with him. He proves how easy it is to get sucked into the "American dream" of home ownership, a wife, two kids, and a car, which often causes people to leave behind the industrious dreams of their youth. John William is the oposite of this picture and escapes from it into what becomes insanity.

    Ultimately, the reader is left to decide who "The Other" really is. Is it John William, who chooses to live his life on his own terms? Or is it Neil, who chooses to live in "hamburger world", just like the rest of us? Perhpas the real answer is that we are all "The Other", as we only know ourselves in a superficial manner, which is at the crux of John William's turmoil.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Guterson catches the reader off guard at the end as one reviews the plot, characters, and considers the meaning of the title. The "other" turns out in the end to be the reader, who, like the main character, should be making "other&am

    The reader's first realization is that one would not like to be like any character in this book. The second "ah ha" moment comes in the days after finishing the book when the reader admits he/she is all too much like each of the flawed characters, and is forced to agree with the protagonist that whatever most of us are doing with our lives, perhaps we should be doing "something else," even if the choices he makes are not the ones most of us would care to select. The question remains, "What then would be a better way to spend one's time on this planet?" The author has the last laugh when the reader sees that he/she has not been reading about some "other" characters, but about himself/herself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2008

    John Williams decline is heart breaking

    I was captivated by the characters, especially John William. I am a Guterson fan having read 'Snow Falling on Cedars' and 'East of the Mountain' but felt he had a thesarus readily available while writing 'The Other'. Sometimes the language was pretentious. John William's decline was painful to witness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    Rare Read

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. David Guterson's writing is like raw silk, rich in origin of material with just enough striations to keep you turning the pages until late into the evening. This is especially a good read if you were of age at the end of the Vietnam war era.

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    Posted February 19, 2009

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    Posted December 20, 2010

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    Posted March 5, 2010

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    Posted July 24, 2009

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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    Posted November 30, 2008

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    Posted January 27, 2011

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