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The Other
     

The Other

3.2 16
by David Guterson
 

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From the author of the bestselling Snow Falling on Cedars, a coming-of-age novel that presents two powerfully different visions of what it means to live a good life and the compromises that come with fulfillment.

John William Barry and Neil Countryman shared a love of the outdoors, trekking often into Washington's remote backcountry where they had to rely

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The Other 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
HistoryWes More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars but not this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Zenbion More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SaundraWSchulhofPhD More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.