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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Filled with elements of fantasy and fable, The Buried Giant is a daring departure for Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day. It’s the story of an elderly Briton couple, Beatrice and Axl, whose memories have been obliterated by a strange mist that shrouds the land. As husband and wife embark on an epic journey to find their absent son, Ishiguro weaves together thoughtful reflections on our relationship to the past with supernatural eeriness and Arthurian legend. We loved this unusual tale, which proves once and for all that we’ll happily read anything the Man Booker winner publishes.
Reviewed by Lydia Millet, Ishiguro's new novel is set in Arthurian England not the mythic land of knights, castles, and pageants most of us are familiar with, but a primitive and rural country likely far closer to historical reality. This is a gray and superstitious place, rather than a battlefield alive with the color and movement of steeds and fluttering banners; it's sparsely inhabited and scarcely advanced. Candles are preciously hoarded, and simple folk cluster together for safety amid vast stretches of untamed and fear-inspiring wilderness.The grim-textured, circa-sixth-century landscape is also a country haunted by magic, where ogres loom in the dark and steal children, and dragons are hunted by faded warriors like Sir Gawain. But its magic remains in the background, an earthy fact of life rather than a dazzle of sparkling make believe. Here British peasants eke out a hardscrabble existence from caves dug into hillsides, while the recent Saxon invaders live in more-advanced villages of rudimentary huts. A strange fog hovers over the dreary countryside where an uneasy peace has balanced on a knife edge since the end of the most recent wars robbing the populace of its memories. Into this countryside our protagonists an elderly, ailing British couple named Axl and Beatrice embark on a pilgrimage to the village of their half-forgotten son. It's a sad, elegiac story, one that has a tone and texture suited to its subject matter: a dreamy journey, repetitive and searching as lost memory. Conversations are formal and stilted, but their carefully crafted formality lends an austere rigor to the proceedings Axl and Beatrice are following a gentle old-people's quest, not a dashing young knight's. Although they do cover literal ground and encounter figures of myth and legend along the way, their real search is clearly interior, a painstaking effort to know themselves and each other by piecing together the vestiges of their past. Memory is inseparable from personhood, in Beatrice's view, and personhood must be known for love to be authentic. Though she and Axl seem devoted to each other ("Princess," he calls her insistently, though she's manifestly anything but), she believes that their devotion, in the absence of memory, may prove insufficient to keep them together when they die. Her guiding fear is that the couple will be separated in the afterlife on the "island," as the world of the dead is represented here if they can't show the Charon-like boatman tasked with rowing them over that they know each other, and love each other, well enough to be granted the rare privilege of crossing that last water together rather than alone.The gift of remembering, as it turns out, will come at a steep price, not for the two aging and kindhearted Britons but for their country.The Buried Giant is a slow, patient novel, decidedly unshowy but deliberate and precise easy to read but difficult to forget. Lydia Millet's most recent novel is Mermaids in Paradise.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Buried Giant
The richness of the language is mesmerising; the precision of dialogue faultless.
This was a tightly bound and perfectly told tale enveloped in a mist of fantasy. I was rapt.
The Buried Giant
I have never written a book review before, but was compelled to after finishing this book. This was a shockingly bad book that dragged on and on. Having read many previous books from this author and throughly enjoying them, I persisted with this one, but found it lacking in every way. I can only assume that this book is listed as a best seller because of the authors previous work, and would like to give warning to anyone thinking of reading this one, you might be disappointed as I was.
The buried giant.
I'm angry that I paid 11.99 for this heap of drivel. The storyline is awful and it's so slow I couldn't finish it and skipped to the last few pages,it didn't end any better. Awful. I don't even want to give it one star!