Kazuo Ishiguro: The Buried Giant

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The latest addition to my website is Kazuo Ishiguro‘s The Buried Giant. This book has received a lot of criticism, not least because it is major departure for Ishiguro as it is, to all intents and purposes, a Lord of the Rings/Arthurian legend-style fantasy. Set in the fifth/sixth century, it tells of the quest of an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, a Saxon warrior, Wistan, and a twelve-year old Saxon orphan, Edwin, who is destined to be a warrior, all of whom are on a quest. Axl and Beatrice are looking for their son but keep getting sidetracked, Wistan is looking to kill a dragon whose breath is causing people to forget things and Edwin wants to find his biological mother and become a warrior. They have various adventures, meeting ogres, pixies and the like, as well as a now aged Sir Gawain, from the Arthurian legends, wicked monks and the knights of British warlord, Lord Brennus, who has a personal vendetta against Wistan. It is all very much sub-Lord of the Rings/Mary Stewart. If you enjoy that sort of thing you may well enjoy it. I did not really take to Lord of the Rings but found it a far superior work to this which I found very disappointing, after a ten year wait.

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5 Comments

  1. Nanosecond

    I have enjoyed and admired most of Ishiguro’s work but have no desire to read this one. Thanks for soldiering through this novel, TMN, and posting your impressions — I doubt if I would have had the fortitude.

  2. This is a nice blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses!

  3. Sorry to hear you didn’t take to this. I’m by no means a Tolkien-buff but I think his books are far stronger on the action / adventure aspect of the Quest genre due to their focus. I think I enjoyed The Buried Giant in a different way entirely – it could quite easily be any other genre but fantasy but it’s fascinating to see Ishiguro working in a different arena.

    My review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

    • tmn

      This is a book that is attracting very diverging views. Some liked it. Some did not. I am not a fantasy buff so I did not but, as you see, it is interesting to see him working in different genres.

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