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Summary

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.

©1999 David Guterson (P)1999 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.

Critic reviews

"When Guterson is at his best, the story and the landscape nearly become one." ( The New York Times Book Review)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story, beautifully read

Story and narrator are made for each other. I have read this book in print but the narration, especially listening in the dark hours of night, brought it alive. Highly recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dee
  • 17-01-05

Very beautiful

Sad but very beautiful. A bit slow moving, but well-narrated enough to get you through the less compelling parts. David Guterson uses gorgeous language, even when the subject matter is hard-going.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kloss
  • 18-11-03

Masterpiece

A full-bodied novel, haunting and true. A very emotional and memorable literature.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-01-17

Narration is excellent. The

This is my first audio book. The reader's voice is excellent. The story is engaging and I found myself captivated listening.

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars
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  • J Tim
  • 15-10-03

East of the Mountains

Contempletive.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful