John William Barry has inherited the pedigree—and wealth—of two of Seattle’s elite families; Neil Countryman is blue-collar Irish. Nevertheless, when the two boys...more
It also reminded me of the passions of a misanthropic and dissatisfied youth....more
Save yourself four hours and just take two Ambien instead.
This tale holds promise but turns out to be a plodding bore-fest. The narrator protagonist tells the story of his eccentric buddy John William Barry.
The latter is a trust fund kid who determines to embark into the woods and live (and eventually die) like a hermit.
Long after the death, the protagonist learns that his friend has willed his $400+ million fortune to the narrator.
I loved "East of the Mountains" an...more
However, the book also compelled me to consider several interesting questions:
Is it ethical to assist a friend if your assistance might result in his suffering? What if his choice of existence only constitutes suffering in the eyes of others and to him is the epitome of happiness and fulfillment? Does the fact that he might be menta...more
The hermit represents a set of ideals about which Countryman/Guterson feels some guilt for failing to live by. He inte...more
Note: the second book in a row to mention Kerouac's season on Desolation Peak as a fire watcher.
A week after finishing The Other - I could easily change this review to five stars based on the thoughts it has roused in me since finishing. The main premise, as I see it,...more
The part set at Reed, an odd, exhilarating and inarticulate college romance, told from the point of view of the Hermit of the Hoh's college girlfriend, was one of the best parts of the book for me. Ad...more
I found this book boring, pretentious, long-winded and meandering. The author certainly has a good vocabulary and he's not afraid to use it. My nook got plenty of work looking up words as I read along. The story goes on and on and nothing really happens. The plot can be summarized in just a fe...more
Neil becomes an English teacher and John William chisels out a cave in the wild and lives there for the next seven years or so. I thought the story had a lot of potential, and the focus of the author should...more
The story of this book is incredibly interesting -- I mean, who doesn't want to read about extreme camping and a rich dude eschewing society to become a hermit in the Hoh Rain Forest? I live in Washington, so...more
What I liked: the scenes on the mountain with his friend, John William; the scenes in his classroom (too brief, wanted more, but then I too was an English teacher); the trek through Europe and his love for Jamie.
For more about this book, see my review on amazon.com under the title and my reviewer's name, EGranfors.
Critics had sharply divided reactions to The Other. Though most praised Guterson's eloquent prose and lush descriptions of Washington State, the Oregonian considered the novel "dawdly and overwritten." Several critics bemoaned the inertia of the two friends, while others deemed the protagonists well-rounded and sympathetic. The critics fell primarily into two camps
The writing is not even engaging and I absolutely loved rea...more
--How much suffering can a person recover from? (And what does "recovered" look like?)
--What is a good life? Is it achievable?
--What makes a good friend? Where are the borders between independence and mental illness, and how does a friend support both?
Another reviewer described The Other as an "existential mystery" and that is a good description. The questions are not just what happened, but why did the characters make the cho...more
Guterson IMHO is a brilliant author! I was excited based upon the write up of this book if not the reviews. I was immediately drawn in by the premise, but mostly the first person narrative style which seems to be my recent cup of tea. Likewise the prose and writing were very enjoyable.....but the story never drew me in. I felt like I was watching a gifted artist, do a finger painting. I a...more
He is best known as the author of the novel Snow Falling on Cedars (1994), which won the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award. To date it has sold nearly four million copies. It was adapted for a 1999 film of the same title, directed by Scott Hicks and starring Ethan Hawke. The film received an Academy Award nomination f...more