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?
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.