Snow Falling on Cedars is a 1994 award-winning novel written by American writer David Guterson. Guterson, who was a teacher at the time, wrote the book in the early morning hours over a ten-year period. Because of the success of the novel, however, he quit his job and began to write full-time.
Set on the fictional San Piedro Island in the northern Puget Sound region of the state of Washington coast in 1954, the plot revolves around a murder case in which Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese American, is accused of killing Carl Heine, a respected fisherman in the close-knit community. Much of the story is told in flashbacks explaining the interaction of the various characters over the prior decades. Carl's body had been pulled from the sea, trapped in his own net, on September 16, 1954. His water-damaged watch had stopped at 1:47. The trial, held in December 1954 during a snowstorm that grips the entire island, occurs in the midst of deep anti-Japanese sentiments following World War II. Covering the case is the editor of the town's one-man newspaper, the San Piedro Review, Ishmael Chambers, a World War II US Marine Corps veteran who lost an arm fighting the Japanese at the Battle of Tarawa. Torn by a sense of hatred for the Japanese, Chambers struggles with his love for Kabuo's wife, Hatsue, and his conscience, wondering if Kabuo is truly innocent. Through extended flashbacks, the reader learns that Ishmael had fallen in love with Hatsue when the two attended high school together right before the war. They had been secretly dating at this time and lost their virginity to each other…