David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars

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2004 Hard cover Annotated. New in new dust jacket. New Glued binding. Paper over boards. 104 p. Bloom's Guides (Hardcover). Audience: General/trade.

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2004 Hard cover Annotated. New in new dust jacket. NICE NEEW BOOK Glued binding. Paper over boards. 104 p. Bloom's Guides (Hardcover). Audience: General/trade.

Ships from: Branson, MO

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791078778
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Series: Bloom's Guides Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David Guterson
David Guterson is a reader’s writer, welcoming his audience into a story from the first sentence. The rich landscapes of the Pacific Northwest are home to many of Guterson’s works of fiction, serving as emotional backdrops for deeply felt stories about the ways we deal with the most universal of questions.


Like many great writers before him, David Guterson draws on the rich local culture of the Pacific Northwest for inspiration in creating unforgettable characters and settings. Guterson credits many influences on his writing, beginning with his father, Murray Guterson, a distinguished criminal defense lawyer: His father's example taught him first and foremost to choose a career he would love, which also meant making positive contributions to the world.

Guterson was intrigued by the narrative of his father's cases. He often sat in on trials, but never felt the urge to become an attorney. When he started college, after one week in a creative writing class, he decided to become a writer. He eventually studied under Charles Johnson (author of Middle Passage), developing his ideas about the moral function of literature, and concluded that it is the obligation of writers to present moral questions for reflection.

As Guterson honed his writing skills, he investigated a variety of jobs that would afford him the time to practice his craft. He finally chose to become an English teacher, mainly because he wanted to surround himself with great books and authors. He moved to Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, teaching at the local high school, writing short stories, and freelancing as a journalist for Sports Illustrated and Harper's magazine.

During his years as a teacher, Guterson discovered another major influence in To Kill a Mockingbird. "No other book had such an enormous impact [on me]" he has said of Harper Lee's splendid Southern classic. "I read it 20 times in 10 years and it never got old, only richer, deeper and more interesting." He admits freely to borrowing many of the novel's structural and thematic elements for his own 1994 tour de force, Snow Falling on Cedars.

Although it was not his first book (he had previously published a collection of short stories and a treatise on home schooling), there is no denying that Snow Falling on Cedars -- ten years in the making and a true labor of love -- put Guterson on the literary map. Set in 1954 on an island off the coast of Washington State, the novel tells the intertwined stories of an interracial love affair and a murder trial that divides a community still haunted by its shameful wartime past. Critics responded ecstatically, calling it "haunting" (L.A. Times), "compelling...heartstopping" (The N.Y. Times Book Review), and "luminous" (Time magazine). The book went on to win the 1995 Pen/Faulkner Award; and the following year, Guterson was named to Granta's list of Best Young American Novelists.

Far from prolific, Guterson writes slowly and with great deliberation, averaging a book every four to five years. Blessed with almost preternatural descriptive skills, he is known as a writer's writer, polishing sentences to pristine perfection and creating stories of elegiac grace. He is disarmingly candid about the difficulties of his craft, claiming that each literary endeavor brings with it a paralyzing fear of failure that slows the process even further. "It doesn't matter who you are, how many awards you've won, how popular you are, or how much critical acclaim you've had," he has said. "When it comes time to sit down and write the next book, you're deathly afraid that you're not up to the task." Fortunately for his many fans, Guterson's misgivings seem totally unfounded!

Good To Know

When he won the 1995 Pen/Faulkner award for Snow Falling on Cedars, Guterson quickly recognized the reclusive Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird for his success. He wrote to Lee asking her to come to the award ceremony in Washington, D.C., but being a highly private woman, she didn't attend.

Snow Falling on Cedars was adapted for a 1999 film of the same title, directed by Scott Hicks and starring Ethan Hawke. The movie received an Academy Award nomination for cinematography.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 4, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Seattle, Washington
    1. Education:
      M.A., University of Washington

Table of Contents

Introduction 7
Biographical Sketch 10
The Story Behind the Story 13
List of Characters 15
Summary and Analysis 20
Critical Views 63
Michael Harris on Multiple Layers and Ethics 63
Pico Iyer on the Clashing of Cultures 65
Susan Kenney on the Role of Memory 66
Carol Herman on the Courtroom Structure 69
Nancy Pate on Community and Justice 72
Lucy Hughes-Hallett on the Role of Race and Racism 73
Jane Mendelsohn on Hatsue's Character 75
Suzanne Mantell on the Publishing History 75
Judith Bromberg on Guterson's Use of Memory 78
James H. Meredith on History and the Fictional Home Front 80
Tom Deignan on the Presence of Hemingway and World War II in Guterson's Novels 85
Jay Carr on the Cinematic Adaptation 87
Works by David Guterson 89
Annotated Bibliography 90
Contributors 96
Acknowledgments 99
Index 101
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