The Buried Giant

The Buried Giant

Book - 2015
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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.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, ©2015.
ISBN: 9780345809407
Characteristics: 345 pages ;,25 cm.

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From Library Staff

Imagine an existence without memory. Lacking context, would war become obsolete? Or family strife? This is the concept introduced in Ishiguro's latest, which appears ten years after his acclaimed Never Let Me Go.


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g
gobula
Oct 13, 2017

This is one of the best books I've ever read. The settings, characters, pace, and meaning are all exceptional, and it is an incredibly moving story. Ishiguro's use of language is absolutely perfect, and I am in awe of his ability to write.

b
becker
Oct 06, 2017

I am completely and totally smitten with this book. The writing, the imagery, the atmosphere and the message. It is incredible.

APL_StaffPicks Oct 05, 2017

Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature

z
zbielke
May 15, 2017

So many have commented on the dialogue in this book being simplistic and repetitive. Do not let this scare you off, as the style of writing in these conversations absolutely serves the larger themes of the book and the relationships of the characters. If you are looking for dialogue which has the sole purpose of moving forward a "plot" then there are probably better choices out there for you. The dialogue here is just a small part of a much larger (and lovely) picture the author has created.

t
tgaddo
Feb 16, 2017

The writing is unique. It's worth reading for that. But I found myself skimming through pages of dialog and introspection to get back to the story.

AL_LESLEY Nov 10, 2016

Though beautiful and lyrical and full of meaningful symbolism and allusions this well crafted story filled with the subtlety expected from Ishiguro didn't capture me and many of the great things about this book just weren't great enough for me. I honestly think many things flew straight over my head and a dedicated reader would have gotten more from it.

s
sparisien
Oct 03, 2016

Though I found it frustrating to read at times, this book stayed in my mind and made me reflect. I rarely read a book which I want to discuss but the layers created in the story is fascinating. I agree with some of the readers that the writing style is challenging. Perhaps a metaphor for life?

r
rodraglin
Sep 10, 2016

Great theme, diminished by poor presentation

George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Kazuo Ishiguro explores that notion in his novel The Buried Giant, set medieval Britain.

Axl and Beatrice are an elderly couple who decide, quite inexplicably, to visit their son who lives in a village a short, but dangerous journey away - they think.

The problem is everyone, the entire population, is suffering from loss of memory. They can hardly remember what transpired even a few weeks ago. Axl and Beatrice don't remember why their son left, exactly where the village he lives in is, or if they'll be welcomed when they arrive?

On their way they take up with a wandering Saxon warrior, Wistan, and also come across Sir Gawain, an aging knight who served King Arthur.

Glimpses of the past intrigue and befuddle all the characters. Have their paths crossed before? Were they friend or foe? And what has caused this loss of memory?

The story is sprinkled with myth and legend and a good thing because this reader had to apply magic to make sense of Ishiguro's plot.

At some point Beatrice becomes convinced that the pervasive memory loss is caused by the breath of the legendary dragon, Querig, who lives high in the mountains. And wouldn't you know it, Wistan is on a mission to kill that very same dragon.

Beatrice now decides her goal is to help dispatch the dragon first. Just how an aged woman in failing health can help is never explained. Once everyone's memory is restored she and Axl will then proceed to visit their son. Sir Gawain also joins in the quest to kill the dragon or so the reader is led to believe.

Ironically, most of the partial memories that continue to be evoked are far from pleasant - turmoil in relationships and war and slaughter of innocent women and children. Axl's worries what the future will hold if memories are restored.

Though the theme of the story is compelling this reader had to wonder why Ishiguro chose such a odd narrative vehicle to present it. The significance of whether knowing history, personal or societal, helps us avoid the same mistakes or encourages us to double-down on them was lost because the story was set in the distant past, muddled in myth and supernatural creatures, and burdened by the archaic dialogue style the author created.

m
michgree
Jul 26, 2016

A bit slow going for me but glad I finished it. Very allegorical with many "dream truths" A book that I would read again to try and understand its many hidden meanings.

m
MathMage
Jul 05, 2016

A rich tapestry woven of rough fabric. Ishiguro crafts a fine story, but the style of prose and dialogue moves beyond somber into soporific. I appreciated this book; I could not bring myself to enjoy it.

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rebmartin31
Jun 02, 2016

"In one such area on the edge of a vast bog, in the shadow of some jagged hills, lived an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice. Perhaps these were not their exact names, but for ease, this is how we will refer to them."

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ApollosRaven
Jul 23, 2015

"Lovely: a fairy tale for grown-ups, both partaking in and departing from a rich literary tradition. - Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2015

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