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While Ben does not readily accept defeat, he is determined to avoid suffering rather than engage it.

East of the Mountains Summary & Study Guide Description

And so, accompanied by his two hunting dogs, he sets out through the mythic American West-sage deserts, yawning canyons, dusty ranches, vast orchards — on his last hunt. The main issues for Ben as a doctor had been tactical and so it would be with his death. But he hadn't considered the persuasiveness of memory — the promise he made to his wife Rachel, the love of his life, during World War II. Or life's mystery. On his journey he meets a young couple who are "forever," a drifter offering left-handed advice that might lessen the pain, a veterinarian with a touch only a heart surgeon would recognize, a rancher bent on destruction, a migrant worker who tests Ben's ability to understand.

And just when he thinks there is no turning back, nothing to lose that wasn't lost, his power of intervention is called upon and his very identity tested. Full of humanity, passion, and moral honesty, East of the Mountains is a bold and beautiful novel of personal discovery. There is no doubt of Guterson's skill as a writer and the timeliness of a novel grappling with a topic that holds national attention. Sell your pre-loved books in 30 seconds, and enjoy shopping in our unique community now!

MORE BY DAVID GUTERSON

Add to Wishlist. East of the Mountains. The Christian Science Monitor - Kendra Nordin There is no doubt of Guterson's skill as a writer and the timeliness of a novel grappling with a topic that holds national attention. Copy URL. Recommended Titles An equal music. He slams into a tree. Chapter Two A young couple pulled over to see weather he was all right. He only had minor injuries, but his car was totally wracked at the front.


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The couple brought him and his dogs there and made sure he got some bandages on his wounds. Ben called a tough-service to tough away his car. Then he asked the couple for a lift back to his car, which they gladly gave him. There he laid the car key on the driver's side wheel suspension for the tough service. Then the couple brought him to the nearest town where he called the state patrol and asked them to look after his car. When he got back to the van he lied to the couple that a friend was coming to pick him up and could leave him if they wanted.

He gave them eighty dollars to continue on their skiing trip. Chapter Three Ben tried to rent a car in the town he was brought to, but there was no car rental in the town.

David Guterson: East Of The Mountains

By now he had given up his journey to the hunting side and tried to hitchhike home. No one stopped for him, probable because he was an old man with a black eye, two hunting dogs and a gun. He came across another traveller at the side of the road. The traveller said that it was unlikely for a car to stop alongside this road and suggested to guide Ben to a crossroad where the cars drove slower and were more likely to stop.

At the time they reached the crossroad Ben had made up his mind and decided to hunt in the hills near the crossroad. When the traveller asked him why he was this easy about his decisions Ben told him he had cancer. The traveller answered this by giving Ben three joints for his trip, because they are known to reduce the pain of cancer.

'East of the Mountains': Distracting Detours in the Hunt for a Final Exit

Then they both went their own ways again. After Ben had hunted some birds in the hill he went to sleep on the plains behind the hill because it was too late to hike back tot the town. Just before he went to sleep he smoked his first joint. Chapter Four In his sleep he was dreaming about his past. He grew up one the orchards of his father, who had taken them over from his grandfather. Ben and his brother, Aiden, learned how to hunt from their father. He often took them with him on hunting trips, hiking, climbing or horse riding for miles. One time they went hunting deer.

Because picking season was over Ben and Aiden had to go to school. It was a small school in the valley, but they had a very good teacher. She died a few months later. Then the picking season started again; pears, apples, cherries and apricots all needed to be picked. They always hired pickers for this work because they could never make it on their own. He fell in love with one of the pickers, a young girl and they met each other a few times.


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Just before she had to leave again they touched each other between the legs. This was the first time Ben had sex. At the end of the picking season Pearl Harbour was attacked and Aiden had to report for duty. In the following picking season he again fell in love with a girl, named Rachel. This time the relationship was more serious and they were together a lot.

Before the end of the picking season Rachel left to become a nurse in the war, but she gave Ben her telephone number. After the picking season he decided to report for duty to, against his fathers will. He went hitchhiking to the east, to the sea, where he went to a cell phone and called Rachel. Chapter Five Ben woke up because Rex and Tristan, his dogs, were barking.

There were coyotes near their tent and Tristan and Rex were chasing them. He decided to follow them with his gun. They were running fast and he had a lot of pain in his side trying to keep up with them. He knew they would find their way back to him when they were finished, but he followed out of habit and curiosity.

A he came nearer to his dogs he saw they were being attacked by wolfhounds, hounds to hunt for coyotes. He shot one of the hounds that were attacking Rex. But then the owner of the dog showed up on his bike, pointing his gun at Ben. He was forced to kneel in front of the rider and give him his gun. Then the rider forced him to read out the nametag of the shot dog. It also had an address on it.

Ben remembered it.


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Then the rider praised Ben for his excellent shot and drove away. Ben sat down behind Rex and took care of him as a doctor. Then by early morning he started looking for Tristan. He found him lying dead under a tree after four hours of searching.

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He had a broken neck and big wounds. Ben buried Tristan near his fire. Then he made a knot in a blanked and laid Rex in it so he could carry him. He walked a couple of miles like this out of the plains into the desert, but Rex was too heavy for him. He found two branches and tied them into a V in which he laid Rex in his blanked. He dragged Rex behind him like this until they were in the next village. There he went to the supermarket, bought some supplies and asked for the nearest vet.

It was in Quincy, a town eleven miles away. Then Ben went to the nearest Inn where he succeeded in getting a lift to Quincy from a trucker for sixty dollars. Sitting in the truck with his dog Ben felt defeated and wanted to go home. But now he was on his way to Quincy, the town he had planned to kill himself in.

Chapter Seven Once they were in Quincy they asked for the vet and a boy working at a gas station showed them the way.

East Of The Mountains

The veterinarian hospital was closed because it was Sunday evening, but there was an emergency number on the door. Ben called the number had the female vet said to be there in fifteen minutes. When she arrived the truck driver left and they went in the hospital. Ben helped her operating Rex very well.

She was a young woman, but had a lot of experience already. After the operation he told her what had happened and she brought him to a motel down the street. In his room he showered and tried to call his daughter, but he got his grandson on the line. Then he remembered he needed back his gun first, because killing himself with a new gun would be suspicious, to. Chapter Eight Ben tried to sleep in his motel chamber, but he had too much pain in his side. He decided to take his second joint to get a good night sleep. He thought nothing could go wrong in his motel chamber. He started to dream about the past again.

Ben went on a train to Colorado, where he started military training at camp Hale. It was a tough training in the mountains at minus twenty degrees. After a long training they got their orders and travelled by ship to an Italian harbour.