Rated of 5
I found this book dire, I have read it more than three times now and contrary to some others I found the weight of detail has not drawn me in to the complexity of his prose. Some critics have had the audacity to state Gutterson has a clipped and concise prose style. I feel that this long winded story of half-hearted deceit and prejudiced law suits is approaching unreadable. Gutterson presents frailty as something to respect and the submission of women into unfulfilled lives, (Hatsue's submission to Kabou to gain the strawberry farm she wants and does not gain for example, her life is also reflected in her mothers situation; travelling to America to find she had married a pauper) as second to the slight and past prejudice against Japanese culture.
The enclosed island community is a poor attempt to create a cross section of community and to explore prejudice and human nature in a confined area. Unfortunately i feel Gutterson fails in this and creates a confined novel which cannot expand to find any sort of parallel with actual society.
Responding to Stephanie's comment, "This story is a murder mystery/love story/war story/everything story", I believe that had Gutterson persisted in one vein and focused highly in Ishmael's struggle or the court scenes alone the book would have been more succesful. There are some astonishing comments made which show potential in his work, but, this novel is far to confused and indeed long-winded.