The Buried Giant
*Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Klara and the Sun is now available*
The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin.
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…
Why read it?
4 authors picked The Buried Giant as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
Ishiguro is a master at combining both amazing world-building and dynamic and controlled prose. The Buried Giant is a master class in both! But that’s what one expects by a Nobel Prize winning author of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. But let’s be specific in our praise.
First, let’s take a closer look at the world-building. When a writer chooses a world to populate, he/she steps into the “known/new” dilemma. This is the conundrum of what is out there, what would be derivative, what would be cliché or such a well-trodden path that to use…
Some novels lean into the alienness of their historical settings, making them feel almost like secondary worlds.
The Buried Giant is one of those. It takes place partly in legend, after the death of King Arthur, and follows an elderly married couple in a society that has quite literally lost its memory. I struggled with this book at first because the prose is so unassuming, but it got under my skin.
Ishiguro's simple prose creates a feeling of unsettling ordinariness, like the way your dreaming brain accepts a logic your waking brain never could.
Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant absolutely haunts me. At the heart of Ishiguro’s story lies a terrible act of cruelty and injustice, but his writing is incredibly gentle, sorrowful, and loving. It is a story about the price of memory. I don’t think that it is an argument against bearing witness, but its exploration of what we remember, what it costs us, and what good it does us is quietly and deeply shocking, and so very sad. I am always in awe of the simplicity and dignity of Ishiguro’s style and the originality of his thought.
Dreams are for revealing what’s buried so that we can reclaim it and be healed. Half romantic dream, half subtle nightmare, this haunting tale chases buried love and identity, buried memories of children that may or may not be real, and the buried secrets and collective trauma of a civilization itself, which never come to any harsh-lit, practical conclusion but end with as much aching ambiguity as a dream itself. Thinking of this book years later, I still remember a journey of endless mist and yearning through mythic Britain, called forth by the unbroken thread of ancient, marital tenderness in…
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