(US, 1956– )
Guterson wrote journalism and taught English on an island in Puget Sound off the north-west coast of America, before enjoying success in his late thirties with his first novel, Snow Falling on Cedars (1995). Set in Puget Sound in the 1950s, the novel tells the story of the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese-American accused of murdering a fellow fisherman. As the trial proceeds during the course of a snowbound winter, a local newspaperman, Ishmael Chambers, is torn between his embitterment at losing his childhood sweetheart to Kabuo and his belief that Kabuo is an innocent victim of prejudice. The novel is lyrical, atmospheric, and compellingly plotted. Guterson followed it with East of the Mountains (1999), similarly lyrical but with a more picaresque story, about a retired surgeon embarking on a final expedition to the mountains of Washington State.
E. Annie Proulx, Cormac