In 1954, a fisherman is found dead in the nets of his boat, and a local Japanese-American man is charged with his murder. In the course of his trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than one man's guilt. For on San Piedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries - memories of a charmed love affair ...
In 1954, a fisherman is found dead in the nets of his boat, and a local Japanese-American man is charged with his murder. In the course of his trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than one man's guilt. For on San Piedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries - memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and a Japanese girl; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbours watched.
This book is so well written. The story content itself is very worthy, but the author's descriptions are very vivid and his insight into the human condition is excellent. An especially good read for the history buff.
Oct 9, 2007
This is a watered down version of "To Kill a Mocking Bird." I liked the idea of a man defending the husbann of a woman he still loves. Unfortunately the characters are not flashed out. They remain two dimensional through out the story. Guterson also falls into the sterotype of the soft spoken Japanese woman. The husband too also falls into the sterotype.
Also he decribes the landscapes for pages on end. If Guterson put halp as much effort into his characters as he did the landscape this might have been a good story.
Publishers Weekly, 1994-08-01 This poetic novel beautifully captures the painful legacy of war and a community's struggle to deal with that pain. Shortly after WWII, fisherman Carl Heine is found dead in the waters off San Pedro, an island of ``damp souls'' off the coast of Washington State. Accused of his murder is fellow fisherman Kabuo Miyomoto, a member one of the many families of Japanese descent on the island. All of the island's inhabitants are gripped by the murder trial, but none more so than Ishmael Chambers, a local reporter who lost his arm in the Pacific theater, and Hutsue Imada, Kabuo's wife and Ishmael's former lover. First-novelist Guterson, a contributing editor at Harper's and author of the short-story collection The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind, pays meticulous attention to the legal intricacies of Kabuo's trial. His greater purpose, however, and one that he achieves with skill and grace, is an investigation of racism, the nature of justice and the ``same human frailty passed from generation to generation.'' This is a luxurious book, whose finely detailed evocation of its small-town setting effectively draws the reader to consider its larger issues. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1995-09-04 First-novelist Guterson presents a multilayered courtroom drama set in the aftermath of the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly, 1995-07-17 This tale of a somewhat quixotic quest by an idealistic young lawyer concerns his efforts to secure damages from two corporate giants, Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace, for allegedly polluting the water in Woburn, Mass., a Boston suburb, with carcinogens. Jan Schlichtmann had hoped that a victory would send a message to the boardrooms of America and felt that the cluster of leukemia victims in Woburn (the disease had claimed the lives of at least six children) guaranteed his success. But he reckoned without certain developments: first, the case went to a federal court, a less sympathetic venue for damage suits than state courts; second, the trial judge appears to have been unsympathetic to his case; third, at least one of the defense witnesses lied; four, defense attorneys evidently failed to deliver all relevant documents to Schlichtmann's team. The case against Beatrice was thrown out, and the plaintiffs accepted a settlement of $8 million from Grace. Personally bankrupt, Schlichtmann considered himself a failure. Former New England Monthly staffer Harr has told the story expertly, although more exhaustively than most readers may wish. Author tour; movie rights to Disney. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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