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The Other

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  2,669 ratings  ·  649 reviews
From the author of the bestselling Snow Falling on Cedars, a coming-of-age novel that presents two powerfully different visions of what it means to live a good life and the compromises that come with fulfillment.

John William Barry and Neil Countryman shared a love of the outdoors, trekking often into Washington's remote backcountry where they had to rely on their wits—and
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Vintage (first published 2008)
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David Guterson writes books that aren't just shaped by my native Pacific Northwest: they are the Northwest. His narratives wouldn't happen anywhere but the Northwest, as the geography defines the stories. Whether it is the nature of the island in Snow Falling on Cedars, or the incessant rain in Our Lady of the Forest, these stories are born out of Seattle and the areas within a hundred miles of it. Each of his books contains dozens of details that explain Washington State, while reminding us of ...more
Aug 03, 2008 Charissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: outdoorsy types, those with crazy friends, hermits
Recommended to Charissa by: David Guterson
Shelves: literature
This book reminded me of what it was like to be out in wilderness all those years with the boys I grew up with. Remote, scrabbling around in the underbrush wondering where the hell we were exactly, reading topo maps, reveling in the small ecstasies of just a bite of food, made so much more special by the fact that we had toted it on our backs for miles, and know there will be nothing else until we tramp back out again.

It also reminded me of the passions of a misanthropic and dissatisfied youth.
3.5 stars - It was really good.

Really enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the Pacific Northwest setting, which just so happens to be my favorite American region.

I read in an author interview that this book has its roots in Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken." The premise is centered around a wealthy young man that turns his back on his fortune and society, heads out to live in the woods where he eventually dies alone. This is reminiscent of Into the Wild, though this author has a much
"Snow Falling on Snoozers..."

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
Good writing, enjoyed this. From author of Snow falling on cedars.About two boys who become friends, one is rich and eccentric. He becomes a hermit living in the Hoh forest and the other watches out for him and leads his own life, getting married, becoming a teacher. Then his friend dies and leaves him a multi-millionaire. The story keeps going back and forth, with too little detail in some parts and too much in others.
When I read Snow Falling on Cedars by Guterson I remember writing down beautiful sentences that I carried in my purse for years until the paper disintegrated. That's why I picked this book to read... I wanted beautiful sentences.

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,
David Guterson schreibt über den pazifischen Nordwesten der USA, eine Gegend, in der er selbst lebt – darum haben seine Bücher bei mir von vornherein einen Stein im Brett. „Der Andere“ hat mich zunächst zögern lassen, weil es nach Thoreaus „Walden“ in der Literatur bereits einige kauzige Einzelgänger gab, die sich aus der Zivilisation zurückziehen.

Den Icherzähler Neil Countryman und John William Barry verbindet eine ungewöhnliche Freundschaft. Die beiden wachsen in Gesellschaftsschichten Seattl
I just finished reading this book, but I am still working out what it is about. The protagonist, Neil Countryman, represents Guterson himself, and John William Barry, the Hermit of the Hoh, is an alter ego, and thus the significance of the story lies in the relationship between the two men with their respective mindsets and lifestyles. But what, ultimately, are we to make of it?

The hermit represents a set of ideals about which Countryman/Guterson feels some guilt for failing to live by. He inte
Anne Broyles
I slogged through this book, wishing the author had given me more white space on the pages, and that so much of it wasn't flashback retelling. I didn't like any of the characters and while other reviewers extol this book for its "deep friendship" between two men, I just saw them both as pathetic. For me, the narrator was more problematic than his wacko/visionary reclusive friend because 1) I could not see why he stayed in the relationship (which at times was borderline abusive,verbally), 2)he wa ...more
This book was like a really smart kid in an English class who has tons of potential but just sits in the back, all slumped over. Then, when he finally writes something, you're intermittently struck by his genius, but mainly frustrated that he didn't put more effort and editing time into it.

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
I’m not certain how to rate this book. It was tedious for me at times, filled with tangents and interwoven timelines, and often made me feel off balance as a reader.

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
I was anxious to read another book by this author because I loved “Snow Falling on Cedars” and “East of the Mountains”, but......I could not finish this one where there was precious little plot, no detail too trivial to be mentioned, and the descriptions plodded on for pages on end. Sorry, Mr. Guterson, but it seemed as though you have become too enamored of your own words and I just lost my patience.

I guess my rating (since I didn't finish it) would be one star?
I find myself thinking about this book a lot. It's an existential mystery, which I love, set partly in the 70's, in Western Washington and at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. It poses the question 'how can idealism and absolutes exist in the world?' and I can't say that the answer is very upbeat.

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
Craig Dube
I believe the title of this book is the answer to a question many may have had leading up to choosing this book. When faced between having to read this book or another one, choose the other.

*spoilers below*

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
Tim A
I picked up David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars around 1996, simply due to the cover art and the fact it had a gold sticker on it proclaiming it as a national book award winner. I brought it home and put it in a pile of books to be read. Shortly thereafter, a thoroughly forgettable movie was made of the book, and my purchased copy got moved from the stack of bedside books to the bookcase which is reserved for read books and those that may get read far it the future.
Guterson’s The Other cros
O.k Where to begin? This book in many ways parallels "into the wild" and began with a bang. I was really drawn to the characters in the first pages. Introspective, pot smoking, wilderness junkies are always fun to read about and so Neil countrymen and his friend John William were intriguing.

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
It was good, some beautiful writing, so beautiful I wanted to write it down... a good plot, complex characters, but it was the end that really grabbed me. I wanted to call up the author and nailed it!!!
A strange and interesting book. I was fascinated for a long time, but less interested as it went on, outright bored and skimming when it got to the end. Why Guterson chose to end his book with the John William's father's incredibly long-winded and dull musings on what he might have done or not done to contribute to his son's mental illness is beyond me. It ruins a good book's ending. Neil's inheritance of John William's money, an interesting aspect, is tossed off while endless detail is given to ...more
I adored _Snow Falling on Cedars_ (listened to on audiobook), but found this book to be so subdued that, were it not for a long airport delay, I might not have finished it. That's not to say that it's a bad book--it is beautifully written. But I'm not sure that it works as a novel. It brings to mind the contemplative qualities of writing by Annie Dillard or, even more aptly, W.G. Sebald. Like Sebald's _The Rings of Saturn_ or _Austerlitz_, the book's story has far less to do with actual happenin ...more
I just finished the last 8 pages in my car, my eyes just wouldn't stay open any longer last night to finish. I'm struggling with the end of the book. The recount by Rand about Ginnie is really making me struggle. Her reading a book while her son screams and not comforting him. I'm quite sure that didn't help his problems. And it sounds like he was a very emotional boy and man. He was prone to crying even with Neil. I realize most of it was genetic from Ginnie...but I wonder if some of his instab ...more
Dina Roberts
This book is about a man who has a friend who turns into a hermit.

It was interesting, but I had a hard time fully getting into it. My mind would kind of drift and then certain scenes and situations would grab me.
Slow in the starting, and likely I'd not have kept on were not so many of the images familiar - of places I've been, of places like those I've visited, of places I'd like to someday be. And then I fell into step with Neil Countryman and remembered a younger me and a friend much like me and saw our conversations in John William Barry - more of them than I'd prefer to remember, so many of them that I'd like to forget - and I was feeling lots of things I'd rather not. So for that, for wearing me ou ...more
So this was tough for me. I loved the first 180 pages. Unlike some of the other reviewers who claim the story is too slow, I thought it meandered along in an expression fitting for two middle distance runners, which is how the book opens.

There were flaws throughout particularly with the periphery characters who were not well fleshed out. There was a sister who with mental illness that was not addressed well and only seemed to exist to underline overall themes of mental illness and those who liv
Christine Dosa
To bad I had read The Goldfinch just a few months before picking this one up. Both have stories of two male friends. That's where the comparison ends. When I finally got about half-way through the book, I stopped wishing I was reading The Goldfinch again, and began to be a little more charitable towards Guterson's efforts. He is a good writer, there is not doubt, but he is pretentious, often. I hate the literary references he puts in, to no effect, in my opinion. He was a teacher, and may still ...more
Steven Howes
I thoroughly enjoyed two of the author's previous books - "Snow Falling on Cedars" and "East of the Mountains." This offering was a bit more complex and dark; yet it was a compelling and inspiring story nonetheless. I just had to think hard about what was happening and what it all meant.

The two protagonists meet at a track meet during their high school years in Seattle during the 1970's. One is born into wealth and privilege while other is from a family of more modest means. In spite of their di
RH Walters
What can society offer a vigorous young animal compared to the woods? How do our friendships keep us alive? I can imagine Guterson splitting himself in half to create Neil and John to explore these questions. He's obviously writing about the things he loves best -- Pacific Northwest forests, books, tools -- and he does so with offhand grace and humor. I'd recommend this beautiful tragic book for anyone who loves the outdoors but lives inside.
Sally Tarbox
'that loner who lived in the woods for seven years and who bequeathed me $440,000,000', 20 Jan. 2015

This review is from: The Other (Kindle Edition)
I got increasingly wrapped up in this novel: narrated by Neil Countryman, an English teacher of working class origin, whose life has followed fairly ordinary lines - marriage, children, an aim to write his own book. But Neil's life has another side - his friend since his teens, wealthy John William Barry. As John William moves from just being 'unusua
Once upon a time there was a passionate book lover who needed something, anything, to read for her cardio time at the gym. So she grabbed a paperback that her husband had started and never finished. It had been sitting on his bedside table for YEARS. She dusted it often. And got tired of seeing it sit there all alone. Something with a title as haunting as "The Other" deserved better attention than that.

And so, as she began reading at the gym, she was unsure if she had made a worthwhile selection
There's an odd flatness about this doppelganger story of Neil Countryman, a middle-class respectable high school English teacher, and his long time friend, John William Barry, a hermit who has rejected American society and lives in the wilderness. Barry rants against the sterility of a "hamburger world" with its meaningless pursuit of materialism, and while Countryman doesn't agree with him, at the same time he maintains his ties with Barry and even brings supplies to his primitive cave.

Heather Murphy
The following has some plot give-aways, but not much. I haven't finished reading it yet but have been thoroughly intrigued after a boring spell in the first chapter. Two main characters, one who seems merely to float through life. Sure, he does great things like meet a girl, great married, have a kid, go on hiking adventures, tour Europe, read great literature, be a friend, etc. But he does so with no convictions, no drive, no real direction. In contrast, the other character is so driven by his ...more
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David Guterson is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, journalist, and essayist.

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 about David Guterson...
Snow Falling on Cedars East of the Mountains Our Lady Of The Forest Snow Falling on Cedars / East of the Mountains Ed King

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“Oh, to be young. To still be one's own hero.” 5 likes
“As soon as he was gone, we opened, "Baucis and Philemon." An elderly couple living in a cottage, they're granted a wish by Jove. They confer in private before Philemon asks, "May one hour take us both away; let neither outlive the other." The wish is granted.

I said, "Simultaneous deaths? Why didn't they wish for eternal happiness instead? What else would anyone wish for?"

"They did wish for that," answered Jamie.”
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