East of the Mountains

East of the Mountains

by David Guterson
3.7 13

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East of the Mountains by David Guterson

It is mid-October, 1997, harvest time in the Columbia Basin of central Washington state, a rich apple- and pear-growing region. Ben Givens, recently widowed, is a retired heart surgeon, once admired for his steadiness of hand, his precision, his endurance. He has terminal colon cancer. While Ben does not readily accept defeat, he is determined to avoid suffering rather than engage it. And so, accompanied by his two hunting dogs, he sets out through the mythic American West-sage deserts, yawning canyons, dusty ranches, vast orchards-on his last hunt. The main issues for Ben as a doctor had been tactical and so it would be with his death. But he hadn't considered the persuasiveness of memory-the promise he made to his wife Rachel, the love of his life, during World War II. Or life's mystery. On his journey he meets a young couple who are "forever," a drifter offering left-handed advice that might lessen the pain, a veterinarian with a touch only a heart surgeon would recognize, a rancher bent on destruction, a migrant worker who tests Ben's ability to understand. And just when he thinks there is no turning back, nothing to lose that wasn't lost, his power of intervention is called upon and his very identity tested. Full of humanity, passion, and moral honesty, East of the Mountains is a bold and beautiful novel of personal discovery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547539089
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/19/1999
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 488,887
File size: 437 KB

About the Author

David Guterson is the author of the novels Snow Falling on Cedars, East of the Mountains, Our Lady of the Forest and The Other; a collection of short stories, The Country Ahead Of Us, The Country Behind, and of the non-fiction book Family Matters: Why Home Schooling Makes Sense. Snow Falling on Cedars won the PEN/ Faulkner Award. David Guterson lives in Washington State.


Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound

Date of Birth:

May 4, 1956

Place of Birth:

Seattle, Washington


M.A., University of Washington

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East of the Mountains 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed East of the Mountains. I respect Guterson's ability to bring to these pages the very soul of this 73-year-old man. I wonder how he, as a younger man, got so much insight into what it would be like mentally to face such a thing as a cancer diagnosis at 73. Everytime I read a Guterson book I end up understanding men better, their depth of emotion, their motivations, their courage or lack thereof, the experiences they open themselves up to. I really appreciate the opportunity to gain this knowledge. I anxiously await Guterson's next book. He has a trememndous ability to take you there with his engaging descriptions of the terrain and culture. He is able to cross the great divide and communicate accurately the mind, will, and emotions of his characters. I connect with his works and am edified by them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite novels. The trek Dr. Ben makes through the wilderness is heart warming. A true walk through lifeand the human experience. Cliff
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1_grammie More than 1 year ago
The story of Dr Ben Givens is one of hope in the face of terminal illness. Dr Ben finds that hope in the wilderness, fighting the elements with his faithful dogs on his final hunting trip. The empathy of total strangers who reach out to help him demonstrate the goodness of life and offer Ben a reason to fight for his life again. David Guterson has a way with description, painting a spectacular picture of the beauty of the American West.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! It is heart warming, and heart wrenching. Sean Connery MUST star in a movie version!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good solid read, but somehow lacking in the brilliance of his first novel. The study of a man who knows his end is near and his need to sum up his life is convincing, but this book just didn't have the soaring passages that made Gutersons' earlier work so great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book makes you think alot about the true value of yout own life. I enjoyed it alot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guterson is a writer of great power. He enriches an already vigorous narrative style with vivid details of landscape, history, character, and mere work-a-day process, and tempers it with a mature sense of the human condition. This extraordinary talent met its perfect vehicle in Guterson's fine debut novel, 'Snow Falling On Cedars.' Unfortunately, 'East of the Mountains' falls short, largely because Guterson does not control an almost palpable urge to unleash his obvious talents on every event, scene, or character, human or otherwise, without restraint or sense of proportion. The constant booming of the big guns from Guterson's massive arsenal overwhelms this essentially introspective and thoughtful book. A few remarkable scenes justify big gun treatment, but ultimately deserve a better home. Amongst these is a riveting flashback to a WW-2 field hospital in Italy, where a dying soldier is wrenched miraculously back to life by a determined but nameless army surgeon, superbly portrayed in Guterson's meatiest prose. Other scenes in the novel deserve a lighter palette, but do not get it. A stern editor might have saved the day. But I still look forward to Guterson's next one....
Guest More than 1 year ago
East of the Mountains was a slow start for me and I liked it better on the second reading. It is not complicated or inaccessible, but it demands the reader's thought and attention because a lot of what is happening is between the lines. Absolutely worth the time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it really satisfied me. very much. everything i wanted to happen happened. I will certainly be enjoying it again. thank you for the opportunity.