Cody's Reviews > The Other

The Other by David Guterson
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Apr 02, 12

bookshelves: pacific-northwest
Read from March 20 to April 02, 2012

I suppose the core issue of The Other is this: “When I think about John William now, I think about someone who followed through, and then I'm glad not to have followed through, to still be breathing, to still be here with people, to still be walking in the mountains, and to be uncertain...in a way I seem to have no choice about. I'm a hypocrite, of course, and I can live with that, but I live.” (p. 254) This is a wonderfully complex way to approach a topic that is often painted as black/white, and I applaud Guterson for being able to maintain a rigorous and interesting examination of this very issue—how far can/should one go in realizing a life that's as genuine as possible—throughout the novel. What I most appreciate here is that, by the end of the novel, the answer is really no clearer, and this, to me, is spot on. It's an oddly liberating sort of “damned if you do, damned if you don't” that mirrors actual life (in my experience), and it reminds us that the choice really is ours, even if every choice is unclear and likely to only lead to more questions.
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