Books: A Different Journey

His debut novel was a big success. Can David Guterson do it again?

David Guterson is among the least trendy of writers. The protagonist's mother in Guterson's new novel, East of the Mountains (Harcourt Brace; 277 pages; $25), believes "we know ourselves through the work we do"; she speaks against lowering standards at apple-packing conferences. Guterson, known for his flannel shirts and the home schooling of his four children, was until recently a high school teacher who cited as his inspiration the schoolroom classic To Kill a Mockingbird. But in the midst of this unpresuming existence, his meticulously researched yet crackling debut novel, Snow Falling on Cedars (1994), became one of the fastest-selling literary...

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