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East of the Mountains
East of the Mountains
Author: David Guterson
Ben Givens is a retired heart surgeon who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Deciding to take charge of his own demise, Ben travels into the wild country of Washington state with his two dogs and his father's Winchester, to hunt one last time and then to end his life on his own terms. But, as with all quests, the Fates intervene. A car...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780156011044
ISBN-10: 0156011042
Publication Date: 4/18/2000
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 75

3.7 stars, based on 75 ratings
Publisher: Harvest Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed East of the Mountains on + 64 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
A "male" story. This is about Ben Givens, a 73yo former cardiac surgeon who is dying of colon cancer. It is not depressing. He sets out to do some bird hunting and ret5urn to his boyhood home with the intention of killing himself in order not to suffer the last stages of cancer. Along the way he has both experiences and people that change his mind. He also reminisces about his earlier years, when he was in the war as a Private, when he met his wife, how he and his older brother Aidan grew up. Guterson is a very graphic writer...you can see his hills and dales and smell his sage and hear his birds. Altogether a totally enjoyable read, and a lesson in the philosophy of dying. 5 stars
reviewed East of the Mountains on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I found this book ripe with meaning and messages about life, aging and compassion for all walks of life. Once again, Guterson has the ability to transport the reader from the written word into a captivating picturesque world through his story.
reviewed East of the Mountains on + 241 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
East of the Mountains is not about the courage it takes to die, but the courage it takes to live, and guterson depicts ths moral and spiritual struggle with a clear-eyed intensity and intelligence that gives [this novel] its essential authority.
reviewed East of the Mountains on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is a well-written and memorable novel about coming to terms with aging and mortality. Set in the orchard country of eastern Washington State, East of the Mountains is the story of Ben Givens, a WWII veteran, retired heart surgeon and widower. Mourning the death of his beloved wife, Ben sets out on a journey to complete a well-planned suicide, following a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Despite his careful planning and organization, Ben's arrangements fall apart following a car wreck; in the events that follow, Ben meets people: some who help him, and some who disparage him. Through a period of a few days and flashbacks to his childhood, romance and wartime experiences, Ben reassesses his life and future.
reviewed East of the Mountains on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
It isn't very often that I read a book that makes me feel as if I'm right there with the characters and not just an outsider looking in. This is one of the rare ones. The authors descriptions of the country, towns, the different eras in time and the people he introduces you to had me feeling as if I had actually experienced it along with the main character. I absolutely loved this story and it will be one that I'll be reading several times.
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