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The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
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The Buried Giant (2015)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,5681713,372 (3.64)246
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» See also 246 mentions

English (161)  German (4)  Spanish (2)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (171)
Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
Although a different genre to his previous books this is classic Ishiguro in style. The writing is clear and beautiful, the themes include memory, and you're left with a vague sense that there was more going on than you understood. On the surface an aging couple go on a journey to try and visit their son in a nearby village, but it really seems to be about genocide, war, and death as well as their relationship. It's quite hypnotic to read. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Aug 8, 2018 |
Ishiguro is one of the UK’s literary treasures – and I’m not the only one who thinks so: last year he was awarded the Nobel, and this year he was knighted. Ishiguro has never been afraid to explore genre territory, indeed his best-known novel these days is probably Never Let Me Go, which has an explicitly science-fictional idea at its core. And The Buried Giant is, by any definition of the term, fantasy. It’s sort of ninth century historical fiction, but it’s also about the Matter of Britain and it makes reference to a number of fantasy tropes. I had forgotten the commentary which came out after the book first appeared three years ago, so I pretty much came to it cold (although I’m entirely familiar with Ishiguro’s oeuvre, having read all of the books prior to this one). Anyway, I’d forgotten the genre complaints against the book, but sort of know what to expect given the other Ishiguro books I’d read. And in the latter respect, it did not disappoint. Axl and Beatrice are Britons, old Britons, seeing out the last of their years in a small Briton village, when they decide to go visit their son in a nearby village. They can’t remember exactly which village, but suppose they’ll figure it out as they travel. In fact, they’ve noticed an increasing forgetfulness on everyone’s part, and they don’t like how it has changed things. Of course, it’s not just the forgetfulness brought on my old age, it’s something endemic to everyone in post-Arthurian Britain. En route, they are joined by a Saxon warrior and a Briton boy believed to have been “infected” after being abducted by ogres and who has been rejected by his village. They also bump into Sir Gawain several times. It’s all very cleverly done. The forgetfulness is real, a magic spell laid on the land by a dragon, and it’s a consequence of the last great battle between the Britons, led by Arthur, and the Saxons. Unfortunately, Ishiguro takes his time getting to the core of the novel, and the first third, in which Axl and Beatrice eventually decided to travel, and then walk several miles to the nearest Saxon village, drag badly. But once Gawain appears on the scene, and the central premise begins to be revealed in hints and clues and glimpses, then things begin to pick up. I finished The Buried Giant a great deal more than I had done halfway in. And, to be honest, I couldn’t really give a fuck about whether it was genre or not. It was beautifully-written and cleverly done, and if it felt a little old-fashioned genre-wise in places that suited the material. I wasn’t so sure on the authorial interventions – or rather, the conceit which presented the narrative as told to the reader by Ishiguro, even though I’m a fan of breaking the fourth wall, as it felt unnecessary and added nothing to the story. Everything in a novel should be part of the story. I thought The Buried Giant, despite its longeurs, a better work than Never Let Me Go. ( )
  iansales | Jul 21, 2018 |
I need to preface this review by saying that I have read Ishiguro before and have loved his work. [b:The Remains of the Day|28921|The Remains of the Day|Kazuo Ishiguro|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327128714s/28921.jpg|3333111] ranks among the finest of books, and [b:A Pale View of Hills|28920|A Pale View of Hills|Kazuo Ishiguro|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348339374s/28920.jpg|1676317] left me dazzled and thoughtful. With this in mind, I plunged into The Buried Giant expecting a lot.

I got a lot, I'm just not sure I knew what to do with it. This book is part myth, part allegory, part fantasy and part fable. I was sure I didn't like it, then I found that I did, and then I wondered how many deeply hidden meanings I was missing. Some of the points are obvious, those about war and revenge and how memories affect both the positive and the negative sides of relationships. I recognized many of the references to mythology (Charon makes an appearance and the whole world is floating in the river Lethe in the form of a foggy mist).

I suspect that this is one of those novels that I will be pondering for a while and that might be the key to appreciating it more. Written as it is, I felt no strong attachment to the characters. They seemed more like representative types sometimes than individuals. This was a weakness for me, I wanted to love or hate or admire them, and I didn't, I just watched them.

( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
The Buried Giant sort of snuck up on me really. Several rainy days on a holiday led me to the warm embrace of a fine second-hand bookshop. I saw The Buried Giant, amongst a few other gems, and added it to my pile. Vaguely I remembered reading Ishiguro some other time: a check when I returned to my computer and had access to LibraryThing informed me that I had read When We Were Orphans, but rated it as somewhat mediocre, and certainly it left no impression on me after seven years. I simply could not recall reading it. The rain eased up, and The Buried Giant slipped my mind.

Until some down time a few months later. So I reached for it, and it would not let me go. In fact it worked its own strange spell, as strange as that of the breath of she-dragon Querig, compelling and rewarding this reader yet without cause to have done so. The characters trudge along, make their way towards various self-discoveries that emerge from a mystical mist of amnesia, and leave me. And that’s it, really. I think the goat survives.

Or does it? Does anyone? The sixth century is a strange lull in the history of the British Isles. At least according to the narrative Arthur’s peace has held, but can peace ever hold where xenophobia and perceived injustice lurk? Saxons loiter with intent, and only amnesia holds them at bay. Pilgrims meander, though amnesia tends to make them wonder why, whither and whence from time to time. Recollections of a life once lived form, and then prove to be chimeric, slipping away. Bad things, good things … things just happen. Amnesia is redemptive. Or does it condemn? One or the other. Amnesia makes it hard to know, really, for the coordinates, the reference points are lost, and why were we loving and hating and fighting and walking anyway?

And eventually, one supposes, the Saxons will return, and blood will flow again. Comme ci comme ça. Yet I could not put this book down, and my life is that iota the richer for reading it. I think. What was it about, again? ( )
2 vote zappa | Jun 27, 2018 |
This was an enjoyable read, I guess I was just expecting something a bit more from a Nobel Prize winner. A big turn, some message, beautiful language, something thought provoking... While I enjoyed reading it I didn't get much out of it. ( )
  ZephyrusW | Jun 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
Fantasy and historical fiction and myth here run together with the Matter of Britain, in a novel that’s easy to admire, to respect and to enjoy, but difficult to love. Still, “The Buried Giant” does what important books do: It remains in the mind long after it has been read, refusing to leave, forcing one to turn it over and over. On a second reading, and on a third, its characters and events and motives are easier to understand, but even so, it guards its secrets and its world close.
 
There are authors who write in tidy, classifiable, immediately recognizable genres — Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, to name a few — and then there are those who adamantly do not. These others can surprise us with story lines and settings that are guises to be worn and shucked after the telling. Masters of reinvention, they slip from era to era, land to land, changing idioms, adapting styles, heedless of labels. They are creatures of a nonsectarian world, comfortable in many skins, channelers of languages. What interests them above all in their invented universes is the abiding human heart.

Kazuo Ishiguro is such a writer.
added by lorax | editWashington Post, Marie Arana (Feb 24, 2015)
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ishiguro, Kazuoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gower, NeilEndpaper art; (cover?) typographysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendelsund, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weinstein, IrisDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Deborah Rogers
1938-2014
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You would have searched a long time for the sort of winding lane or tranquil meadow for which England later became celebrated.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
'There's a journey we must go on, and no more delay...' This is the extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize winning The Remains of the Day. 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. [www.bookdepositiry.com]
In post-Arthurian Britain, the wars that once ravaged between the Saxons and the Britons have finally ceased. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly British couple, set off to visit their son, whom they haven't seen in years. And because a strange mist has caused mass amnesia throughout the land, they can scarcely remember anything about him.
As they are joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and an illustrious knight, Axl and Beatrice slowly begin to remember the dark and troubled past they all share. By turns savage, suspenseful, and intensely moving, The Buried Giant is a luminous meditation on the act of forgetting and the power of memory, an extraordinary tale of love, vengeance, and war.
Haiku summary
Axl and Beatrice
go on a quest and find the
truth about themselves.
(passion4reading)

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"An extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize winning The Remains of the Day. "You've long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it's time now to think on it anew. There's a journey we must go on, and no more delay. . ." The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war"--… (more)

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