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The Other by David Guterson

The Other (2008)

by David Guterson

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English (26)  Dutch (1)  All languages (27)
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bookshelves: currently-reading, published-2007, autumn-2013, e-book, abandoned, adventure, doo-lally, north-americas, next
Read from November 06 to 07, 2013

To A.S.C., A.V.S., and D.W.B.

Quote: Je est un autre. —Rimbaud

Opening: I attended Roosevelt (the Teddies, Teds, or Roughriders), a public high school in North Seattle, while my friend John William Barry was a student at Lakeside, our city’s version of an East Coast private academy like Phillips Exeter or Deerfield. Besides slumping at my desk all day and getting high in Cowen Park at lunch, I also ran the 880—today called the eight-hundred-meter or the half-mile— for the RHS track team.

All aboard the good ship Dilemma...

Sorry folks, this one is just not my cup of tea. Better things beckon

4* Snow Falling on Cedars
DNF The Other
2 ( )
  mimal | Jan 1, 2014 |
I tried to read this book but it was really hard to get into it. I made it to the 2nd or 3rd chapter, I think. I liked his other book, East of the Mountains, it was much more interesting. ( )
  floridakayakgirl | Dec 1, 2012 |
I turned to this book based on a positive review. Unfortunately, I found the author long winded and the storyline less than intriguing. Unusual for me, this book took me almost 2 months to read as it was just a complete drugery to get through. That being said, I believe I missed a lot of the finer details as I just couldn't "get into it". The one positive of the book was the scenic descriptions. He was able to convey the beauty and remoteness of many areas in the Pacific Northwest. ( )
  sunnydrk | May 9, 2012 |
Having just inherited a large fortune from his late friend John William Barry, Neil Countryman tells how it all came about. Friends since 1972 when in their their teens the two boys meet while competing against one another in the 880 yards. A friendship grows out of their shared love of the outdoor life and love of exploring the wilds around their Seattle home. On their ventures into the often unknown they would live off their wits and off the land.

But in time Neil settles for a conventional married life and teaching while John William is determined to live according to his beliefs, and starts to live a solitary totally self sufficient life in the Washington wilderness.

The Other is a story rich in detail, perhaps at times a little too much detail as Guterson can become bogged down in creating family histories and local connections. Roughly only half the book actually concerns the friendship the two boys and later young men enjoy. The rest looks into what made the two, and especially John William, what they are.

At its best it is a compelling and moving story, particularly when John William is living his life of recluse with Neil his only contact. But at times it can become a little laborious, and I began to wonder for a while if the book would ever get to discussing the character of John William and their friendship. ( )
  presto | Apr 24, 2012 |
Many reviewers found this novel a little long or long winded. I loved it for that reason. I liked the idea that Neil used his journals to tell his story—the detail felt real (something an ordinary person like me could have written). Here’s a ‘boring’ school teacher, living a very real and ordinary life in a very satisfying way. He loves his wife, he loves teaching, yet then, he has this secret friend, and then a bigger secret. What is mental “health”? Is John William ‘sick’? I loved the narration of Neil’s basically ordinary life with the stories of John William’s hermit life interwoven and contrasted. Part of my enjoyment may have been that I’m approximately the same age and went to school in Oregon—I could totally relate to the setting and characters. I liked the idea that Neil used his journals to tell his story—the detail felt real (something an ordinary person like me could have written). ( )
  doggonelaura | Dec 1, 2011 |
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Je est un autre.

  -- Rimbaud
To A.S.C, A.V.S, and D.W.B.
First words
I attended Roosevelt (the Teddies, Teds, or Roughriders), a public high school in North Seattle, while my friend John William Barry was a student at Lakeside, our city's version of an East Coast private academy like Phillips Exeter or Deerfield.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307263150, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, June 2008: When John William Barry and Neil Countryman meet at a high school track meet in the early 1970s, they are two sides of the same coin: John is a trust fund baby and student of a prestigious private school while Neil is solidly working class, but they share an affinity for the outdoors and apprehension over impending changes in their lives. After an unintentionally challenging week lost in the wilds of the North Cascades, John is compelled to an ascetic path: life in a remote river valley in the Olympic Peninsula rainforest, where he chips a shelter from a granite wall and immerses himself in the esoterica of Gnostic dualism --a philosophy that holds that the material world is illusional and destructive. Neil meanwhile chooses a traditional path as a father and school teacher, despite his troubled friend's exhortations to eschew "hamburger world" and find truth in a simpler, stripped-down existence. Nothing is that simple, of course, and The Other compellingly explores the compromises we make to balance meaning and security in our lives through the choices (and their subsequent consequences) of these two men. --Jon Foro

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:24 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When two boys--John William Barry and Neil Countryman-- meet in 1972 at age sixteen, they're brought together by what they have in common: a fierce intensity and a love of the outdoors that takes them, together and often, into Washington's remote backcountry, where they must rely on their wits--and each other--to survive. Soon after graduating from college, Neil sets out on a path that will lead him toward a life as a devoted schoolteacher and family man. But John Willliam makes a radically different choice, dropping out of college and moving deep into the woods, convinced that it is the only way to live without hypocrisy. When John enlists Neil to help him disappear completely, Neil finds himself drawn into a web of secrets and often agonizing responsibility, deceit, and tragedy--one that will finally break open with a wholly unexpected, life-altering revelation.--From publisher description.… (more)

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