The Other, By David Guterson

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The Independent Culture

David Guterson first came to prominence in 1994 with his memorably named novel, Snow Falling on Cedars. As befits a Seattle-based writer, he then wrote a series of novels featuring outdoorsie loners who were at one with nature and the wild. This latest novel follows a friendship between two teenage boys from different sides of the tracks: John William Barry, the scion of one of Washington's smartest families, and Neil Countryman, a carpenter's son. Brought together by a distain for the "organised social world" and a love of Japanese Haiku's, the friends stay in touch as adults.

Countryman follows a conventional path, while Barry disappears to a secret lair, eventually bequeathing his friend 440 million dollars. A very American portrait of male friendship, Guterson taps into a familiar world of backwoods bonding and transcendental testosterone.