East of the Mountains

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr 19, 1999 - Fiction - 304 pages
13 Reviews
It is mid-October, 1997, harvest time in the Columbia Basin of central Washington state, a rich apple- and pear-growing region. Ben Givens, recently widowed, is a retired heart surgeon, once admired for his steadiness of hand, his precision, his endurance. He has terminal colon cancer. While Ben does not readily accept defeat, he is determined to avoid suffering rather than engage it. And so, accompanied by his two hunting dogs, he sets out through the mythic American West-sage deserts, yawning canyons, dusty ranches, vast orchards-on his last hunt. The main issues for Ben as a doctor had been tactical and so it would be with his death. But he hadn't considered the persuasiveness of memory-the promise he made to his wife Rachel, the love of his life, during World War II. Or life's mystery. On his journey he meets a young couple who are "forever," a drifter offering left-handed advice that might lessen the pain, a veterinarian with a touch only a heart surgeon would recognize, a rancher bent on destruction, a migrant worker who tests Ben's ability to understand. And just when he thinks there is no turning back, nothing to lose that wasn't lost, his power of intervention is called upon and his very identity tested. Full of humanity, passion, and moral honesty, East of the Mountains is a bold and beautiful novel of personal discovery.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rainpebble - LibraryThing

East of the Mountains by David Guterson; (5*) Like the author's Snow Falling on Cedars, I enjoyed this book tremendously. I have read many books in which I have become immersed and this is definitely ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - addunn3 - LibraryThing

OK, it has been a great summer and I have been busy, but for reasons that are as illusive as a certain mole in my yard I couldn't get excited about this book. Ben seemed rather flat, the dialogue forced, and the details sometimes didn't contribute to the flow of the story. Read full review

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Contents

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Back Matter
Endpapers
Back Flap
Back Cover
Spine

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About the author (1999)

David Guterson was born in Seattle and later graduated from the University of Washington. Before becoming a full-time writer, Guterson was a high school English teacher and a contributing editor for Harper's Magazine. Guterson has published The Country Ahead of Us, The Country Behind, a collection of short stories, and Family Matters: Why Home Schooling Makes Sense, a nonfiction book. Snow Falling on Cedars is Guterson's most famous work; it has won the Pen/Faulkner Award and was an American Booksellers Book of the Year Nominee.

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