The novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, was written by David Guterson and was published on September 26, 1995. It took Guterson, who was born on May 4, 1956, over ten years to finish the book, which immediately became a bestseller and was awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1995. The novel was based on Guterson’s experiences in the Northwest part of the Pacific and also on his eight-year stint a researcher.

Basically, the story, which takes place in the fictional and relatively peaceful San Pedro, is about Japanese-American Kabuo Miyamoto’s trial for his involvement in the killing of Carl Heine, a well-loved fisherman and highly respected veteran of war. Initially, the jury was convinced that Miyamoto was clearly the one who murdered Heine, who was found dead after bumping his head on his boat while he was fishing and subsequently drowning afterwards, due to fishing equipment on the former’s boat that was stained with the same blood type of the latter.

However, before the jury could come up with a verdict, Ishmael Chambers, who held a grudge against Miyamoto for allegedly stealing his loved one, Hatsue, presented evidence which showed that it was a large freighter, and not the accused, that hit Chein’s boat while he was fishing, causing him to drown. In the end, Miyamoto is freed and is reunited with his family.

The interesting and also saddening part of the book was the fact that the jury showed racism against Miyamoto and was willing to convict him simply because he was Japanese. The novel basically showed that racism and discrimination against races that are non American are still prevalent up to this day. Nevertheless, despite its racism undertones, the book is highly recommended to people as it showed a social condition that many believe no longer exists.

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