Tag: Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Posted March 24, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction, Magical Realism / 9 Comments

The Buried Giant by Kazuo IshiguroTitle: The Buried Giant (Goodreads)
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Published: Allen & Unwin, 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The Buried Giant is set in a post-Arthurian Britain that is covered in a strange mist…a mist of unknowing. Axl and Beatrice have not seen their son in years; they barely remember him. One day the couple decide to leave their town and set off to find their son. They expect to run into difficulties, they are old and do not remember much, but nothing can prepare them for what they will discover along the way.

This is the first Kazuo Ishiguro in over a decade and I was very excited to get my hands on this novel. I have heard many people say that The Buried Giant is unlike anything Kazuo Ishiguro has ever done but that is what is brilliant (and annoying) about this author. Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day are also unlike anything else Ishiguro has written. He has an amazing ability to write something different every time and use the genre and the plot as an allegory to explore different themes.

As you may have guessed, The Buried Giant explores the theme of memories; in particular, lost memories. Ishiguro uses the tropes found in fantasy and Arthurian literature to explore these themes. Like the ideas of myths and legends that make for great stories but (generally speaking) the ideas and context behind them are often lost or forgotten about. On their journey Axl and Beatrice meet Sir Gawain which sets up the metaphor of the mist of unknowing. Just how did King Arthur and the Britons come to peace with the Saxon’s?

The more I read Kazuo Ishiguro, the more I love his use of language. He writes beautifully and yet he is not satisfied in just using words to get his message across. He uses imagery and plot as well as genre tropes to help drive his message. Now that I have discovered this, it almost makes me want to retry reading Never Let Me Go for the second time to just explore this depth, as well as his other novels. However I am sure that The Remains of the Day will also remain my favourite.

I was completely fascinated by The Buried Giant and I found myself regularly putting the novel down just so I could dwell on the chapters I have read. There is a lot within the book worth exploring and I know I have only scratched the surface. A re-read of this book may conjure up many more themes and imagery, for now I can dwell on the ones I discovered this time around. While The Buried Giant is unlike anything he has ever written, the beauty and complexity will remind you that you are enjoying a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.