Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson


This book is set around the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto for murder in the first degree of Carl Heine.  Interspersed through the trial are flashbacks via the memories of witnesses and also, Ishmael Chambers, a journalist covering this trial.  These flashbacks expand to 10 years prior the trial – to the time before the war.

I think this book is in exploration to human nature: judging by appearances, holding on to the past, living under someone’s shadow, and the ease of deception.

I found it was a bit of a slow start but became quite enjoyable for some time – I particularly love the pre-war flashbacks with the beautiful descriptions of the cedars, the moss, the ocean, etc…  However, when I reached the defence part of the trial I was becoming really impatient for it to end.

I don’t usually write any spoilers in my review but in this case, I can’t help it!  However, I’ll be as vague as possible…


In the last few chapters, Ishmael Chambers held the ‘key’ which may lead to the direction of the trial’s verdict.  However due to his past, it was questionable whether he will or will not produce this ‘key’.  For me, this was a nail biting moment/s and I was hoping that he will do what’s ‘right’.  Did he?  Was Kabuo guilty or innocent?  Well, that’s for you to find out!!

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