The Buried Giant (Vintage International) (Paperback)
March '15 Indie Next List
“Ishiguro's new novel is a work of wonder, transport, and beauty. A recurrent theme in his earlier books, always shown with great originality, is the matter of what happens after we have lost our way. In The Buried Giant, Ishiguro explores losing direction, memory, and certainty, as the primary characters cling to remnants of codes of behavior and belief. Which is the way through the forest? Where might our son be? And where is the dragon, and who shall seek to slay her? Set in the time just after King Arthur's reign, Ishiguro's tale, with striking, fable-like rhythm and narrative, shows how losing and finding our way runs long, deep, and to the core of things.”
— Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
This novel is currently #1 on my all-time favorites list, and I re-read it at least once a year. Ishiguro is masterful in general—but I argue this novel is his best. There is something in here for everyone: on the surface this is a story about an elderly Briton couple as they seek out their estranged son in another village in the years just after King Arthur's death. They meet all kinds of friends and foes and mst find the courage to help fight a dragon who curses the land.
On a deeper level, though, I think there is commentary here about colonization and the importance of facing history. The Saxons invaded the Britons and fought for many years until a peace settled. But the peace is deeply flawed and reliant upon people not being able to remember their past.
-Brittni— From Brittni
In post-Arthurian Britain, the wars that once raged between the Saxons and the Britons have finally ceased. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly British couple, set off to visit their son, whom they haven't seen in years. And, because a strange mist has caused mass amnesia throughout the land, they can scarcely remember anything about him. As they are joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and an illustrious knight, Axl and Beatrice slowly begin to remember the dark and troubled past they all share.
By turns savage, suspenseful, and intensely moving, The Buried Giant is a luminous meditation on the act of forgetting and the power of memory.
“An exceptional novel. . . . The Buried Giant does what important books do: It remains in the mind long after it has been read, refusing to leave.” —Neil Gaiman, The New York Times Book Review
“Lush and thrilling, rolling the gothic, fantastical, political, and philosophical into one.” —The New Republic
“Mesmerizing. . . . A provocative, multilayered mosaic. . . . Lifetimes of myth, allegory, and epic discoveries are contained within.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A literary tour de force so unassuming that you don't realize until the last page that you're reading a masterpiece.” —USA Today
“Splendid. . . . Excellent. . . . The Buried Giant is a simple and powerful tale of love, aging and loss.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Ishiguro is a master of the uncanny. . . . Few write about the mysteries of the human experience with such grace as Ishiguro, and his prodigious gifts are evident throughout the novel.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Devastating . . . As emotionally ruinous an ending as any I’ve read in a very long time, and it made me circle back to the opening pages, to re-enter the strange mist of this sad and remarkable book.” —Mark O’Connell, Slate
“A profound meditation on trauma, memory, and the collective lies nations and groups create to expiate their guilt.” —The Boston Globe
“If forced at knife-point to choose my favorite Ishiguro novel, I’d opt for The Buried Giant. It uses the tropes of fantasy to set up a smoke-screen which the book then, by twists and turns, dispels. This reveal gives the book a shadow-plot, and layers of mystery . . . An ideas-enabler, a metaphor-animator.” —David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks
“Ishiguro is a deft gut-renovator of genres, bringing fresh life and feeling to hollowed-out conventions. . . . The love story at its center shimmers with a mythic and melancholy grace.” —Vulture
“A beautiful, heartbreaking book about the duty to remember and the urge to forget.” —The Guardian (London)
“Powerful and disturbing. . . . Provokes strong emotions—and lingers long in the mind.” —The Economist
“A beautiful fable with a hard message at its core. . . . There won’t, I suspect, be a more important work of fiction published this year than The Buried Giant.” —John Sutherland, The Times (London)
“A novel of imaginative daring that, in its subtleties of tone, mood and reflection, could be the work of no other writer. . . . In the manner of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Ishiguro has created a fantastical alternate reality in which, in spite of the extremity of its setting and because of its integrity and emotional truth, you believe unhesitatingly.” — Financial Times