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The Other by David Guterson
The Other revolves around two men who became friends when they were teenagers. John William Barry came from wealthy, old money families in Seattle. His privileged life contrasts to Neil Countryman's blue-collar background. Together they explored the Washington wilderness and built a deep bond together. After college, John William withdrew from the hypocrisy of society and lived a hermetic life deep in the woods. Neil became a teacher and a family man, but continued to visit his friend and deliver provisions for him. John William convinced Neil to help him fake his death so that he could be completely divorced from his life. Neil agreed, unaware of the consequences it would bring. David Guterson's novel has received mostly positive reviews with the New York Times saying, "The Other is a moving portrait of male friendship, the kind that forms on the cusp of adulthood and refuses to die, no matter how maddening the other guy turns out to be. It's also a finely observed rumination on the necessary imperfection of life - on how hypocrisy, compromise and acceptance creep into our lives and turn strident idealists into kind, loving, fully human adults."