I picked up David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars around 1996, simply due to the cover art and the fact it had a gold sticker on it proclaiming it as a National Book Award winner. I brought it home and put it in a pile of books to be read. Shortly thereafter, a thoroughly forgettable movie was made of the book, and my purchased copy got moved from the stack of bedside books to the bookcase which is reserved for read books and those that may get read far it the future. Guterson's The Other crossed the circulation desk the other day and I guess the cover art grabbed me. It prompted me to read the book's abstract, and I brought it home and started it that evening. I devoured this book. Guterson's eloquent prose and lush descriptions of things often overlooked reminded me of what a well-written book should feel like... brighter greens, the intricate veins of leaves, and the smell of the earth. This rare book details a friendship between two men: one is raised in a blue collar family who grows up and subscribes to middle class values and the other, raised in an elite family, despises materialism, "normal" social values, and subscribes to Gnosticism. These two men on divergent paths in life remain friends despite their differences and shape each other's world view. It is a tale about a hermit and a school teacher... or is the hermit the teacher and the teacher the hermit? I found myself thinking often about this book and reevaluating considerations which I haven't thought about for a long time. I enjoyed this book so much that I am now reading another Guterson novel, Our Lady of the Forest... and I have dusted off my copy of Snow Falling on Cedars: it's next.
Recommended by Tim Andrews