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The Buried Giant (2015)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,2602622,049 (3.62)1 / 336
"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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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Folio Society Devotees: The Buried Giant20 unread / 20stopsurfing, November 2023

» See also 336 mentions

English (249)  German (4)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  Chinese, traditional (1)  All languages (261)
Showing 1-5 of 249 (next | show all)
Strange mix of Arthurian legend, Greek myth, fairy tale, and British history. Read in one day, so it kept my attention, but I didn't love it. I'm still mulling the underlying meanings about memories and human conflicts. ( )
  Abcdarian | May 18, 2024 |
This isn't the kind of book I would have picked up, but I'm glad I did. One reason why I love book clubs!

The writing is brilliant, with an impressive use of tone, atmosphere and language. Some of the way the story unfolds seem to be structured to put the reader in a bit of a mist, making the reading more vivid and building a deeper understanding of Axl and Beatrice. I enjoyed the love story of Axl and Beatrice. I enjoyed thinking about memory as a double-edged sword. For example, would Axl and Beatrice be so in love with stronger memories? The same could be asked more broadly of the Britons and Saxons in the broader story.

I loved contemplating the relationship between memory and forgiveness. The book has a depressing message: that the only way to have peace is to erase the memory of past wrongs. I wonder if that is true and contemplated the Israel/Palestine multi-generational conflict. On the other hand, can we really extend forgiveness if we don't fully remember what we are forgiving?

A beautiful, thought-provoking metaphor for guiult, memory and vengence. ( )
  LynnB | May 2, 2024 |
Halle-frikin'-lujah

Date started: September 6, 2023
Date finished: January 31, 2024

The story is set in England after the death of King Arthur, where Britons and Saxons live in relative peace. It follows an old Briton couple setting out to visit their son, all the while fighting something they call the "mist" - a curious ailment that prevents anyone on the island from having long term memories, though the memory loss seems selective. On the way they meet lots of people who help them understand the mist and its origins, they start remembering scenes from their life together, and slowly the reader gets a picture of what happened after Arthur died.

I must be honest, I didn't really enjoy reading this book. While the setting was interesting, the pace was slow and I couldn't really get into the story for more than a few pages at a time. I powered through the last few chapters simply because I was tired of feeling guilt for starting any new book while this one sits on the shelf unfinished. My rating is purely for my enjoyment of the book, it has nothing to do with the quality of the work. ( )
  NannyOgg13 | Feb 1, 2024 |
I was wondering what I'd get when I noticed what appeared to be fantasy from [a:Kazuo Ishiguro|4280|Kazuo Ishiguro|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1424906625p2/4280.jpg] on the library shelf. [b:The Buried Giant|22522805|The Buried Giant|Kazuo Ishiguro|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1451444392s/22522805.jpg|41115424] proves to be remarkably Kazuo. In this fictional Albion with ongoing Anglo-Saxon conflict, he threads an underlying question of what it means to be British, that to me feels like the kind of interrogation you can only really have when you grow up a non-native Brit. It's startling, at least to me, to see the landscapes of England shifted to fantasy and yet described so accurately (or what I imagine to be accurately). He gets the spirit of the place.

Setting aside, the novel is an odd, timeskipping piece. We're kept in the dark about most of the plot, since the characters don't really know what's going on half the time anyway. It's interesting to meet characters who don't remember their own lives, but I wouldn't say the experience is particularly fun. The jumps in perspective and time, even mid paragraph, are disorienting. Again, that's sort of the point, I suppose, but it's not easy to read. Ishiguro gets an amazing sense of tone and atmosphere here; it's certainly "literary" or at least feels that way. Yet impressive prose doesn't make it entirely enjoyable, so come into this with appropriate expectations... ( )
  Zedseayou | Jan 30, 2024 |
I'm still trying to figure out what I think about this. I've read all the major reviews, including the negative one in the New Yorker. I think the one I liked best was Neil Gaiman's. He said he couldn't love this but he appreciated it. The book is pretty bleak and it's hard to love a book that's seems to exist to remind you of bummers such as:

1. The only way to erase vengeance would be to erase memory.
2. Honor is all well and good, but only takes you so far.
3. We all die alone.

But in the end I suppose I choose to focus on the love story inside the bigger story about war and peace. The love story is enough to make me love the book. Axl calling Beatrice "princess" soothed me (I listened to a bit of the audiobook and the narrator said it so tenderly). The way they took care of each other, the way they spoke to each other, the last crushing scene. It all worked powerfully on my emotions. "Are you there, Axl?" "Still here, princess." Sigh. ( )
1 vote LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 249 (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 (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ishiguro, Kazuoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gower, NeilEndpaper art; (cover?) typographysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horovitch, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendelsund, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weinstein, IrisDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Gradiva (155)
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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)

"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"--

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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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