East of the Mountains, Paperback Book
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


From the author of THE COUNTRY AHEAD OF US and SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS, a tale about Dr Ben Givens, who, after becoming ill, leaves his home in Seattle, never intending to return.

Ben embarks on a journey past snow-covered mountains to a place of canyons, sagelands and orchards where he intends to commit suicide, but it doesn't all go to plan.


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East of the Mountains by David Guterson; (5*)Like the author's Snow Falling on Cedars, I enjoyed this book tremendously. I have read many books in which I have become immersed and this is definitely one of them. It is not to be quickly forgotten. This story is so real and so profound that I became surrounded by the novel and found it interesting for many reasons. One of which is that I am from the state of Washington which is the locale of this tale. I found so many of the places in the book to be very familiar to me.Ben Givens' past memories of the simple but hard life, however loved and valued by him, reminded me somewhat of my own. I found the war and his feelings and experiences of it horrifyingly graphic and real. His nonjudmental attitude of other people and his physical vulnerability was also very realistic. As a human being, this story depicts the soul that does not age even as our bodies do. The eternal questions about death and dying were achingly apparent in this story. For a young author to understand humanity in this way, that life is fragile but the human spirit inherently courageous, is refreshing.David Guterson is a treat to read. His writing is simply beautiful. The story is so sad and contains all of the elements of life along with being realistic on the points of dying. His prose brings to the reader some wonderfully vivid mental pictures and the feel of apple country in the eastern part of Washington State. The horrors of the transient fruit pickers and the protagonist's illness I did find very distressing but necessary to the narrative and I felt more hopeful at the end of the book than at the beginning.This book is one that will be read by me many times.

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