He saw the soft cedars of San Piedro Island, its high, rolling hills, the low mist that lay in long streamers against its beaches, the whitecaps riffling its shoreline. The moon had risen already behind the island – a quarter moon, pale and indefinite, as ethereal and translucent as the wisps of cloud that travelled the skies. A fisherman is found dead in the net of his boat off the coast of a North American island. When a local Japanese-American man is charged with his murder, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than one man's guilt. For on San Piedro, memories grow as thickly as cedar trees – memories of a charmed romance between a white boy and a Japanese girl. Above all, the island is haunted by what happened to its Japanese residents during the Second World War, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbours watched.
When Dr Ben Givens left his Seattle home he never intended to return. It was to be a journey past snow-covered mountains to a place of canyons, sagelands and orchards, where, on the verges of the Columbia River, Ben had entered the world and would now take his leave of it.
By the author of "Snow Falling On Cedars", this collection of short stories are mainly narrated by older men, recounting the wrong turns and lost opportunities that have occurred in their lives. They remember their mistakes, their lies and their first loves with intense and lingering recollections.
A new couple's first night together is overshadowed by a decades-old story of a lost love. A man takes a two hour walk across Kathmandu to visit his estranged wife in hospital in midst of a Maoist strike. A man accompanies his Holocaust survivor father on a trip to his German city of birth. A newly diagnosed dementia patient misses his last opportunity to see his youngest son. A family is forced to sit through a dinner-time account of the death of their teenage son as their food turns cold on the table. And an unexpected and tender friendship develops between an ailing man and his dog walker. In Problems with People relationships solidify, crumble and are forged anew. These ten sharply observed stories are imbued with David Guterson's signature gifts for characterisation, psychological nuance, emotional suspense and evocation of the natural world. By turns funny, thought provoking and deeply moving, Guterson deftly taps into the sadness, beauty, joy and complexities of our everyday lives.
Seattle, 1972: Neil Countryman and John William Barry, two teenage boys from very different backgrounds, are at the start of an 800m race. Their lives collide for the first time, and so begins an extraordinary friendship. As they grow older Neil follows the conventional route of the American dream, but the eccentric, fiercely intelligent John William makes radically different choices, dropping out of college and moving deep into the woods. Convinced it is the only way to live without hypocrisy, John William enlists Neil to help him disappear completely, drawing his oldest friend into a web of secrets and agonising responsibility, deceit and tragedy - one that will finally break open with an unexpected, life-altering revelation.
Ann Holmes seems an unlikely candidate for revelation. A sixteen-year-old runaway, she is an itinerant mushroom picker who lives in a tent. Her past has been hardscrabble. Then one November afternoon, in the foggy woods of North Fork, Washington, the Virgin comes to her, clear as day. Is this delusion, a product of her occasional drug use, or a true calling to God? Gradually word spreads, and thousands converge upon the already troubled town. For Tom Cross, an embittered logger who's been out of work since his son was paralysed in a terrible accident, the possibility that Ann's visions are real offers a last chance for him and his son. As Father Collins searches both his own soul and Ann's; as Carolyn struggles with her less than admirable intentions; as Tom alternates between despair and hope; Our Lady of the Forest combines suspense, grit and humour in a story of faith at a contemporary crossroad.
The Bloomsbury Birthday Quids are small editions of short stories by major writers, in a format and style of the Bloomsbury Classics. Printed on high-quality paper, designed by Jeff Fisher, the books should become collectors' items. This title is The Drowned Son by David Guterson.