Apr 10, 2015

Book 69: The Buried Giant by Kazou Ishiguro

What fortunate timing I had in discovering Ishiguro when I did.  After falling in love with his writing I soon discovered his latest book was soon to be available.  It has been 10 years since he published his last book Never Let Me Go (the start of it all for me).  So I was super excited to finally get my hands on the book and dive in.

The Buried Giant takes place in the unrecorded history of England just after the time of King Arthur and his knights.  A mysterious mist has settled over the land and the inhabitants have difficulty remembering anything that is hours old, they are always living in the present.  An old couple decide to take a journey to visit their son who lives in another village.  On this journey they meet a knight of the round table, a warrior, and a dragon, and try to remember parts of their past.  Is it better to be blissfully unencumbered by the past or filled with memories that may cause pain?

I very much like the book, but I was not sure what I was thinking as I was reading it.  To start with, it did not "suck" me into the story as some of his other works, I struggled to find my footing.  Most of this, I think, is due to his choice of voice.  The characters speak in a stilted manner, one I found hard to follow. The dialogue just did not flow as nicely as some of his other work ( I have found out since that was deliberate).  And even when I came to the books end I was a bit unsure.  But it did not take long for the book to percolate down and become more meaningful for me.  The more I tried to describe it to friends or my husband, I found how much I enjoyed the topic Ishiguro was commenting on.  Memory.  Memory within an individuals life, in a marriage and also in a community and how the loss of memory may be a good thing or at the very least how the loss of memory can change how we live.

I recommend this book, with one caveat.  If you are not familiar with Ishiguro's other works I would start somewhere else and then come to The Buried Giant, but definitely come.