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Everything in the book is predictable from the moment you read the dust jacket.The only interest remaining is the forlorn hope that you're wrong and there's some plot twist coming.Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched.
Judd's doubts about the novel are evident in his discussion of its opening. "The accused man, Kabuo Miyamoto sat proudly upright with a rigid grace, his palms placed softly on the defendant's table -- the posture of a man who has detached himself insofar as possible at his own trial" (Guterson 3; ch. Judd called this introduction an "unambiguous beginning" where "Miyamoto is subsequently cloaked in ever increasing layers of nobility, until the very concept that he could have committed this crime is almost laughable" (Judd 7).
Judd preaches through the review about the novel's lack of mystery and its sickening predictability.
Kabuo Miyamoto stands accused of killing Carl Heine, Jr., the son of Etta Heine, who essentially stole the land that the Miyamoto's were about to finish buying before they were shipped to the Manzanar concentration camp in 1942. was found in his own fishing net, drowned and with his skull stove in, and Miyamoto's was the closest boat.
In addition, Carl's blood is on Miyamoto's gaff, one of his lines is found tied to a cleat on Miyamoto's boat and Miyamoto refuses to explain these anomalies.
Here's the first sentence of the novel: The accused man, Kabuo Miyamoto, sat proudly upright with a rigid grace, his palms placed softly on the defendant's table--the posture of a man who has detached himself insofar as possible at his own trial. And Atticus Finch put himself, his children and his legal practice at risk in order to defend an unjustly accused black man.
From this unambiguous beginning, Miyamoto is subsequently cloaked in ever increasing layers of nobility, until the very concept that he could have committed this crime is almost laughable. No character here is taking similar risks and Guterson is so risk averse that he nearly beatifies his Japanese american characters.But it is just so intellectually lazy and morally flaccid that it's hard to recommend it.by David Guterson is set in 1954 and is a story of love, tragedy, and deception.The claim is that from the moment you pick up the book it is unavoidable to recognize that Miyamoto is innocent.I see the novel from a different perspective with regard to Miyamoto's innocence.Now it appears that he may be the only thing that stands between Miyamoto and a guilty verdict.There is really no way to avoid the fact that only the Jim Crow laws compare to the Internment of the Japanese during World War II as the low point for civil rights in this country.Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric—a masterpiece of suspense which leaves us shaken and changed.Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award 1995 and the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies.It is significant to note that the Japanese were rounded up only in states where they wielded little political power.Hawaii, which had actually been attacked and where they were a much larger portion of the population, made no effort to intern it's population, in no small part, because they represented a political force to be reckoned with later.