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Triage of a Novel: Snow Falling on Cedars

Across the Room: I enjoyed the social commentary on this story, especially how it can be so relevant to today's political atmosphere. However, the pacing was really rough to get through.


Temperature: Hypothermic. There wasn't much joy/optimism in this book. Regardless of the outcome of Kabuo's trial, there was still a beloved man who died.

Heart Rate: Bradycardia. The pacing was sluggish. Every time I felt like something was happening, we get thrown back into either the courtroom or a seemingly unrelated flashback/dream sequence. A lot of sitting and staring while reminiscing on life. It wasn't so much in a "bad" sense, as we really get to know Ishmael and his development. However, it's definitely not my type of story.

Blood Pressure: Normotensive with hypertensive episodes. The number of flashbacks and dream sequences were a bit jarring, and seemed to grind the pacing down to a halt. Due to this, it was a little confusing to figure out which part of the plot was happening in the moment vs in the past.

Respirations: Normal. I felt so connected to the characters right away. Even the man who died in the first page!

Oxygenation: a bit hyper-oxygenated. Guterson is a master at painting a beautiful picture. I absolutely love his prose. However, he didn't stop there. It felt like every time we reached a new room/building, we get an info-dump on the history, construction, politics, etc. related to that specific area.

Work of Breathing: some mild difficulty. I think the slow pacing, as well as the frequent info-dumps, pulled e out of the story more than I would have liked. This is likely due to reader preference, rather than writing flaws.


Family: Historical Fiction

Medical: I didn't see many comorbidities, and they didn't affect the quality of the story too much. Again, Guterson's imagery and prose is astounding. He really knows how to make even ugly settings beautiful. However, the info-dumping and blurred lines between past and present made this a bit more "chronically ill" than I wanted to see.

Psychiatric: The relationships between each character are so well put-together. The strained relationship between Hatsue and Ishmael is heartbreaking. The unique voices between the Japanese family members and other citizens of San Piedro Island are a delight.

Socio-economic: Adult

Head to Toe Assessment:

Head and face: The cover is beautiful. Simple, but beautiful. I may be biased, since the Pacific Northwest is the place I call "home" (I digress).

Neck: This had a bit of a slow start, but the mystery surrounding the "how" of what led to the murder trial Guterson opens with kept me intrigued.

Chest: It was difficult for me to pinpoint the "aha!" moment of what constituted the inciting incident, as the timeline jumps around a lot. However, this did not deter me from reading on.

Abdomen and Flanks: Again, there are multiple timelines for each character. This led to some confusion at times, but I still felt comfortable enough with the plot lines to keep reading on.

Perineum: This is when my heart just broke for every character involved. There were so main MC's, that each one had their own breaking points. The ones that really stood out to me were Hatsue and Ishmael, however. I cried for Ishmael. It's been a while since I've felt such raw emotion for a character like that.

Extremities: Since this is a re-read, I already knew what the big reveal was. However, I was reminded of the surprise I felt when I read it.

Backside: The resolution was...okay? It left me with a few more questions than answers.

Prognosis: Since this is mostly reader-induced differences, I'll have to give this a "fairly good" prognosis 3.5 (rounded up to 4 on Goodreads). The slowly-paced story and frequent info-dumps slowed me down enough to feel disjointed. With the multiple timelines, I felt a little confused, as well. As I said before, the social commentary on race, bias, and prejudice felt so real and palpable, given today's political climate.

Again, here is my formula of the "Triage" review process, for those who are unfamiliar:

As always,

Stay safe. Stay sane. Keep healthy. Keep smiling. Much love!

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