Title / The Buried Giant
Author / Kazuo Ishiguro
Publication Date / 2015
Star Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis: The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased. The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards — some strange and other-worldly — but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.
Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.
If you expect this to be like other Ishiguro books, then you are in for a surprise and perhaps a little disappointment. This is unlike any of his other works, however like his other works it does focus heavily on memories and what they mean to us. This is a distinctive and unique read. . First off, I love the setting of this book – it is set around 6th century Britain, after the Romans have left. I have always been interested in history and this time period is one of my favourites to study. The premise is fascinating to me. It is set in this world covered in some of mist and the entire village is experiencing strange memory loss. We are defined by our memories, so it is interesting premise to take that away. It did take me a little while to get into this book, but after a while I became invested in the story and the characters. On the surface this is a fantasy book, but there is more to it than that. The genre of fantasy is used as a framework so Ishiguro can focus on the characters and their relationships. As a mentioned before it is also all about memories – I personally love that about Ishiguro books. Memories are so important to us and so I find books about memories quite interesting. The plot is generally engaging, although it is quite slow to develop. It dragged a little for me in the middle of the book, but it was only a minor issue for me and it did pick up again.
As always with Ishiguro’s book, this book has masterful prose. It is wonderfully written and the dialect was perfectly realistic for this era. I personally really enjoy his writing style, although it can be a little repetitive at times. Axl constantly referring to Beatrice as ‘princess’ did get kind of annoying. Another similarity with his other books is the presence of an unreliable narrator. In this case the mist makes all of the characters unreliable narrators. This makes the reading experience quite an interesting one, as you don’t truly know what is going on. I imagine when I reread this at some point I will pick up on things I missed in the first reading. This book has a lot of depth to it – there are many layers to it. Another thing to mention is that this book as a very meandering pace to it. For me, that meant it was quite a slow read but as I’ve said in other reviews I don’t mind that.
Overall I very much enjoyed this book, despite it being very different to anything else he’s written. So even if you love this author, you may not necessarily love this book. I went in knowing it would be different so I wasn’t disappointed with the change or anything like that. If you are interested in British legend then you will probably like the setting of this book, as it is set not long after the death of King Arthur. As always with this author, the writing is great and the characters are complex. it is different to other books by this author, but there are also quite a few similarities. Let me know whether you have read this one and your thoughts of it. I am interested to know your thoughts. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.