As I stated in one of my early posts, although I’m trying to work my way through the top 100, I’m very easily distracted by other books. ‘Snow Falling on Cedars’ is not on the list but ever since the movie came out I have been wanting to read it. I am one of these people that tries to read the book before seeing the movie. Although sometimes I’m disappointed with the film adaptation I find it easier. If I see the movie before I read the book I can’t visualize the characters and the ending is already given away.
Set at the end of World War II the story is seen through the jaded journalistic eyes of Ishmael Chambers. The plot traces the trial of a young American-Japanese man who is suspected of having murdered an American fisherman. Ishmael however is not on the outside looking in, he is as emotionally involved in the outcome of the trial as is the defendant. Through a series of flashbacks and painful memories this mystery along with the secrets of Ishmael’s past is unraveled.
There are beautifully written passages describing the pristine snow and the harshness of the island weather. This makes you feel that if you went outside you could feel the icy winds biting at your skin. The story is in depth and provides each character’s point of view on the events that unfold. The problem I found with this book is like many others, the story takes a while to unfold and piece by piece it all falls into place, but the ending was so abrupt that I left the book feeling a little disappointed. I had a lot of questions and the story felt not completely resolved.