The quiet unacknowledged force of racism
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Snow Falling on Cedars encompasses the time period of shortly before WWII until a decade post WWII, but unlike many tales of this time period, the war itself is not its main focus. While several key figures did go to war and return, the larger story is that of the large Japanese community that was taken from their homes and relocated in internment camps with almost no objection, or even sympathy, from the white neighbors they had known for generations.

The book follows the murder trial of Kabuo, accused of killing a man he had known since childhood, over a piece of land Kabuo believed had been wrongly taken from his family when Carl's mother used their internment as an excuse to break their contract. Unlike many murder mysteries, the truth unfolds slowly, along with your understanding of the characters. The author masterfully reveals bit by bit right until the very end of the book, using stories of the characters' past and present to shape and form your opinion on Kabuo's guilt or innocence, but also the guilt or innocence of the community itself.