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. Read more...
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. Axl and Beatrice, a couple of elderly Britons, decide that now is the time, finally, for them to set off across this troubled land of mist and rain to find the son they have not seen for years, the son they can scarcely remember. They know they will face many hazards--some strange and otherworldly--but they cannot foresee how their journey will reveal to them the dark and forgotten corners of their love for each other. Nor can they foresee that they will be joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and a knight--each of them, like Axl and Beatrice, lost in some way to his own past, but drawn inexorably toward the comfort, and the burden, of the fullness of a life's memories. Sometimes savage, sometimes mysterious, always intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in a decade tells a luminous story about the act of forgetting and the power of memory, a resonant tale of love, vengeance, and war.
- ISBN-13: 9780307271037
- ISBN-10: 030727103X
- Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
- Publish Date: March 2015
- Page Count: 336
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
A mythic masterwork
Each new book by Booker Prize-winner Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day) is, on the surface at least, vastly different from those that have come before. The Buried Giant—his first novel in almost 10 years—is no exception. This fable-like narrative, set in England just after the mythic reign of Arthur, chronicles the adventures of an elderly couple as they journey across a wild and rugged landscape. Old and forgetful, but still endearingly in love, Axl and Beatrice have been cast to the margins of their settlement, not even allowed candles for fear that they may do themselves harm. So, they decide to set out for their son’s village, which they believe they can reach with a few days’ travel. But the landscape abounds with human hostility and ignorance, as well as the shadowy possibility of ogres and other mythical beasts.
The couple, who are Britons and Christians, are joined mid-journey by a young Saxon knight, Wistan, as well as a boy, Edwin, whom the knight has rescued from the hands of superstitious villagers. This unlikely quartet meets an aging Sir Gawain, the last survivor of Arthur’s round table, in the woods, and makes its way to a fortress-turned-monastery.
Despite the swords and monsters, this is not the sex and violence fictional world of George R.R. Martin. Ishiguro has crafted a haunting allegory, rife with symbols and archetypes. Its deceptively simple narrative unfolds with the ease of a timeless fairy tale, and as with all classic fairy tales it works as a universal parable. Like much of Ishiguro’s work, The Buried Giant is about the clouds of memory, our human imperfections and our unresolved pasts. It is a welcome return by one of our most subtle, thought-provoking novelists.