Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

I've managed to get to this point without reading any reviews for The Buried Giant. Therefore, when I began reading it last week I had no idea what it was about or what to expect.

There is something very thrilling & even a little daunting about opening a new book by such a well-known, well-regarded author that includes a leap into the great unknown. It's an act of reader faith.
Where will this story take me? Will I like it? What will I discover along the way?

A part of me wants to say nothing at all about The Buried Giant so that you have the pure, unadulterated pleasure of discovering this bittersweet tale about memory and love all by yourself, like I did. But that would make for a very brief & rather pointless review!

If you've read this far, I have to assume you want to know whether this book is for you or not.

I've only read two Ishiguro novels before this.

The Remains of the Day, which I thought was an exquisite story of yearning, restraint & repression and Never Let Me Go, which I failed to get into at all.

The first book is set in post war upstairs/downstairs England while NLMG has a futuristic dystopian setting. TROTD follows an aging butler come to terms with the decisions and choices he's made in life around duty, honour & class. While the latter is a boarding school romp with some creepy cloning issues!

Where could Ishiguro possibly go after that?

Shall I tell you?

Alright.

Go back.
Waaaaay back!

Back to post-Arthurian England. Back to a Dark Ages world of Saxons and Britons. Back to a time steeped in mythology & legend where she-dragons, ogres, pixies and curious memory-sapping mists prevail.

Axl & Beatrice are a couple to take into your heart forever.

Ishiguro's language is careful, gentle and deliberately paced to slow your reading down. Each sentence is savoured, each emotion rolls off the page as the subtle tension builds.
What will their missing memories reveal?

'It would be the saddest thing to me , princess. To walk separately from you, when the ground will let us go as we always did.'

The Buried Giants won't be for everyone, but if you're prepared to go along for the journey, you will be well rewarded.

7 comments:

  1. Wow I also just finished The Buried Giant, still have not found time to post on it yet. I have to admit Never Let Me Go coloured my expectations a bit and I had heard Giant was an excursion into fantasy so I approached it with some trepidation but I ended up enjoying it very much and have found myself thinking a lot about it. Did you find it referenced a lot of other classic texts and did Gawain feel more like Don Quixote to you? You are right it won't be for everyone but it is certainly worth going along for the journey. Makes me wonder where Isighuro will go next.

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    1. I did wonder about some classic referencing, but I haven't read Don Quixote (yet it's on my TBR Classics list) & I suspect my usual classic fare isn't the type that Ishiguro was refering to.

      A couple of times I expected to see a hobbit pop up though :-)

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  2. I liked it but it didn't touch me as emotionally as Remains did. I loved the characters and the setting.

    I bought tickets to see the author Monday, let's see what I come away with.

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    1. I felt very attached to Axl & Beatrice but you're right, the emotional angst you felt along with the characters in Remains was very intense; Buried was a more gentle emotion.

      Lucky you seeing Ishiguro - I look forward to your post about it :-)

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  3. I do hope to give this one a try as I loved his previous book -- which was so long ago.

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  4. I was mildly interested in this one and now I can't wait to read it. I loved Remains!

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  5. Ishiguro likes to bend his genres and this novel is no exception. He uses some of the set pieces usually found in fantasy novels but you won't find yourself overwhelmed by ornamentation. It is simple and straight yet contains a powerful theme. I predict this novel like "Never Let Me Go" will grow in significance over the years.

    Marlene
    Jabra Headphones Review

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