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A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

A Pale View of Hills (original 1982; edition 1990)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

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2,208694,221 (3.69)1 / 298
Title:A Pale View of Hills
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro
Info:Vintage (1990), Edition: Later Printing, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro (1982)


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English (63)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
A disturbing short novel. A Japanese woman expat in England reminisces about her early life in Nagasaki shortly after the end of the war. She remembers a friend with a child with dreams of being taken to the USA by her unreliable American boyfriend. The child imagines an old lady across the river. Back in England other memories are of a daughter committing suicide. But who is who? Is the memory of Japan of herself or another woman? Is the memory of the strange child in Japan her own child? As she gets older is she trying to make sense of her own life? ( )
  Steve38 | Aug 19, 2018 |
Can you love a book and still say you are not sure you KNOW what happened in it? That is the feeling I came away with from Pale View of Hills. The story is told by Etsuko, a Japanese woman post WWII living in England and mourning the recent suicide of her daughter. She tells us the story of her life in Japan when she is presumably carrying the now deceased daughter, her first husband there and a friend, Sachiko and her daughter Mariko. We are also given glimpses into Etsuko's relationship with her daughter by her English husband, who is also now deceased.

The story seems very straightforward, although Etsuko tells us from time to time that she may not be remembering it properly. By the end, we are fairly sure that is the one point on which she is correct. Ishiguro turns the book on its head and leaves us wondering what is the truth and who is Etsuko truly and struggling with a vague sense that her daughter's suicide might have much more to do with her than we suspected.

If I had any wish to alter this book, it would be that Ishiguro had written another 200 pages and told us the entire story. I felt like I wanted to sit down and write my own version to fill in all the blanks. I think this was intentional on his part and that it is a large part of his success that the disorientation that the characters feel, we feel as well. The characters become so intertwined that it would be impossible at the end to say who did what and who was who. I even wondered if the child Etsuko is carrying is truly the deceased daughter, or if she has confused her life and Sachiko's life and blurred all the lines between Keiko and Mariko.

This is a book that I would love to discuss with a group and have other opinions bounced about. I can see how it might have dozens of different interpretations if dozens of people were reading it together. I was not disappointed, and considering this was Ishiguro's first novel, I think one must tip the hat to his enormous story-telling talents. [b:The Remains of the Day|28921|The Remains of the Day|Kazuo Ishiguro|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327128714s/28921.jpg|3333111] remains his masterpiece, in my opinion, but I am happy to list him as a favorite author and remain enamored of his work.
( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
The first novel by a brilliant author, A Pale View of Hills has a disturbing undertone to it. Old memories clash as newer ones surface, yet Ishiguro's talent shows through on each page. The ending puzzled me a bit... ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
I love the writing and quiet voice of Kazuo Ishiguro, this story (or parallel stories) of post-war Japan moves along quietly in the shadow of the death by suicide of Etsuko's eldest daughter. ( )
  brakketh | Dec 18, 2016 |
Very good in the ways that Kazuo Ishiguro usually is. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
A Pale View of Hills is eery and tenebrous. It is a ghost story, but the narrator, Etsuko, does not realize that. She is the widow of an Englishman, and lives alone and rather desolate in an English country house. Her elder daughter, Keiko, the child of her Japanese first husband, killed herself some years before. The novel opens during a visit from her younger daughter, Niki, the child of her English second husband. Etsuko recalls her past, but Niki, a brusque, emancipated Western girl, is not very sympathetic. Her visit is uncomfortable and uncomforting, and she cuts it short: not only because of the lack of rapport with her mother, but because she can't sleep. Keiko's unseen ghost keeps her awake.
added by kidzdoc | editThe New York Rview of Books, Gabriele Annan (pay site) (Dec 7, 1989)
''A Pale View of Hills'' is Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel. Its characters, whose bursts of self-knowledge and honesty erase their inspired self-deceptions only briefly, are remarkably convincing. It is filled with surprise and written with considerable charm. But what one remembers is its balance, halfway between elegy and irony.
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Niki, the name we finally gave my younger daughter, is not an abbreviation; it was a compromise I reached with her father.
It doesn’t matter how old someone is, it’s what they’ve experienced that counts. People can get to be a hundred and not experience a thing.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067972267X, Paperback)

The story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. In a story where past and present confuse, she relives scenes of Japan's devastation in the wake of World War II.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A middle-aged Japanese woman, now living in England, relives her horrifying childhood memories of the bombing of Nagasaki.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Average: (3.69)
1 8
1.5 2
2 21
2.5 12
3 137
3.5 69
4 233
4.5 19
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