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East of the Mountains
East of the Mountains
Author: David Guterson
From the author of THE COUNTRY AHEAD OF US and SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS, a tale about Dr Ben Givens, who, after becoming ill, leaves his home in Seattle, never intending to return. Ben embarks on a journey past snow-covered mountains to a place of canyons, sagelands and orchards where he intends to commit suicide, but it doesn't all go to plan.
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ISBN-13: 9780747545088
ISBN-10: 0747545081
Publication Date: 5/8/2000
Pages: 288
Edition: New Ed
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.

4.5 stars, based on 3 ratings
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

MOMSBOOKS avatar reviewed East of the Mountains on + 64 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
A "male" story. This is about Ben Givens, a 73yo former cardiac surgeon who is dying of colon cancer. It is not depressing. He sets out to do some bird hunting and ret5urn to his boyhood home with the intention of killing himself in order not to suffer the last stages of cancer. Along the way he has both experiences and people that change his mind. He also reminisces about his earlier years, when he was in the war as a Private, when he met his wife, how he and his older brother Aidan grew up. Guterson is a very graphic can see his hills and dales and smell his sage and hear his birds. Altogether a totally enjoyable read, and a lesson in the philosophy of dying. 5 stars
doctorslime avatar reviewed East of the Mountains on + 241 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
East of the Mountains is not about the courage it takes to die, but the courage it takes to live, and guterson depicts ths moral and spiritual struggle with a clear-eyed intensity and intelligence that gives [this novel] its essential authority.
vallipow avatar reviewed East of the Mountains on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is a well-written and memorable novel about coming to terms with aging and mortality. Set in the orchard country of eastern Washington State, East of the Mountains is the story of Ben Givens, a WWII veteran, retired heart surgeon and widower. Mourning the death of his beloved wife, Ben sets out on a journey to complete a well-planned suicide, following a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Despite his careful planning and organization, Ben's arrangements fall apart following a car wreck; in the events that follow, Ben meets people: some who help him, and some who disparage him. Through a period of a few days and flashbacks to his childhood, romance and wartime experiences, Ben reassesses his life and future.
F250 avatar reviewed East of the Mountains on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
It isn't very often that I read a book that makes me feel as if I'm right there with the characters and not just an outsider looking in. This is one of the rare ones. The authors descriptions of the country, towns, the different eras in time and the people he introduces you to had me feeling as if I had actually experienced it along with the main character. I absolutely loved this story and it will be one that I'll be reading several times.
SanJoseCa avatar reviewed East of the Mountains on + 328 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This novel is a worthwhile read about the meaning of life. Readers who enjoy the 'rhythm' of words will love it. But, if you are looking for a 'page-turner'.....look elsewhere.
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reviewed East of the Mountains on + 5 more book reviews
I had not read anything by this author before, and this was not his #1, but it sounded intriguing. It was. Its a bit different in the plot line. It ends up having 3 different parts. It took me awhile to figure out why that was happening, but once I did I loved it. The writing is beautiful. Its about one mans journey and memories, and how those sustain each other.
reviewed East of the Mountains on + 9 more book reviews
This is an excellent story; however, the book is a little wordy. I still found it worth wading thru...
GrannyGamer avatar reviewed East of the Mountains on + 153 more book reviews
Unabridged audio version with an excellent reader. Although Guterson uses the language beautifully, this book is quite slow with far too much detail that neither helps move the story along or develop the characters. When an author starts describing bowel movements and medical procedures, it's time to call in an editor.
reviewed East of the Mountains on + 39 more book reviews
Loved this book. Not what I expected. If you have elderly parents or are an elderly parent, definitely read this book
reviewed East of the Mountains on + 377 more book reviews
Abridged/4 Cassettes/Approx 6 hours.

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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