The Other by David Guterson - review by David Jays

David Jays

Into the Wild

The Other


Bloomsbury 255pp £18.99

The setup of David Guterson’s new novel is pure tabloid. There are two old friends, one from a rich family, the other a diligent teacher. The rich kid leaves humanity behind and becomes a recluse in the forest, and when he dies in almost outlandish circumstances the teacher inherits a fortune. Or, as an excitable headline writer puts it, ‘Mummy Bequeaths Millions!’

Guterson (still best known for Snow Falling on Cedars) takes that scenario and soaks the sensationalism from it. The bald oppositions promised by the novel’s title – of wealth and modesty, community and solitude – play out through a style of troubled solicitude. Neil Countryman, the narrator, is from a

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