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Last Updated: Apr 1, 2015 - 6:21:20 AM 

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Book Reviews

Milt Gross Book Review: "The Other" by David Guterson
By Milt Gross
Apr 1, 2015 - 6:21:20 AM

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The Other is a reasonably good book about a couple of young men in the Pacific Northwest, who get into the forest a lot. Photo by Milt Gross
I mistook something I read on the flap of The Other, which caused me to mistakenly think the book was about an adventure in the Washington State mountains.

There was a good bit about hiking and even getting lost in those mountains, but the actual story was of two young men who were friends. One died while camping in the mountains, and the other found his body near his burned out campfire.

The novel, by the author of Snow Falling in Cedars, tells the stories of Neil Countryman, a teacher, and John William Barry, a friend who decides to camp fulltime in the mountains. Countryman becomes a school teacher and marries, while Barry hangs on the wild side of things.

Barry wants to live without hypocrisy and thinks the only way to do that is to live alone in the woods. Countryman helps him get set up and returns to visit every so often, while continuing his own life and marriage.

It was on a trip to visit Barry that Countryman finds Barry's body at the campsite.

The story continues after that, but Countryman and Barry's trips into the woods and Barry's eventual death there, are the centerpieces of the tale.

I thought the story had too many side stories, although they were all part of the main tale.

One critic thought this was Guterson's best book. I thought Snow Falling on Cedars was much better, but that may have been because I saw that as a movie at least twice.

The book was published in 2008 by Alfred A. Knopf, New York with a price pm the cover of $24.95. offers several versions of it at $10.88 and $22.63 for hardback version, $12.58 for a paperback, and $19.93 for an audio CD version.

Besides the two titles mentioned in this review, Guterson wrote East of the Mountains and Our Lady of the Forest along with a story collection, The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind. Guterson also cofounded Field's End, a writers' organization in Washington State.

If you find the book somewhere, it makes fairly interesting reading. There's no way I'd pay any of the above prices for it. It wasn't that interesting.

If you want to borrow my copy, you're welcome to it. I'll need your name and mailing address.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014

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