The Buried Giant is the last novel, so far, by the Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro, published in 2013 and his debut in the fantasy genre, even if the novel is not much of a genre.
The protagonists are Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple who lives in post-Arturian Britain. The peace between the Bretons and the Saxons is back, but now there is another threat: a magical fog able to erase memories. So powerful that parents forget their children, the topic of a great discussion falls within seconds, wives and husbands separate. Axl and Beatrice have few memories of their past life and even less of their son, but they remember the village where he lives. So, one morning early, they embark on the journey that will take them from their progeny and beyond. They will meet many people with whom they will share travel pieces (knights, Saracens, old) and, thanks to them, they will discover who is the proponent of this fateful fog and the reasons that led to such magic.
The novel is a fantasy, but although it has trolls, magic, ogres and dragons, it can not be considered a canonical fantasy, it is a general fiction novel with little fantasy insertions.
There is little to be said about Ishiguro’s style. He writes so good, and we all know it. But I found this novel particularly subdued. More than anything else in the central part. While the first part pushed me to read and to continue, the central part bored me a bit. Not because it was badly written, but because it gave me the idea to digress a little, as the style divages. Little happened, but this is not a problem. But I had the impression that this rather narrative way of giving shape to post-Arcturian Britain had the task of making minds wander away from the main story. And so the style, digressing, is lowered a bit. But it takes back great in the last part.
The novel takes up the great themes of the literary production of Ishiguro, then the memory, the fragility of man, death, honor. In this novel, however, there is a new one, forgetfulness, not to be confused with memory. The fog makes you forget, but maybe that’s good? Would we be willing to forget something or someone to heal our wounds first? These are questions that the reader makes himself while reading this novel. Ishiguro takes a clear position, especially in the final. A great and painful ending, like all those of Ishiguro. Inserting this theme of forgetfulness, Ishiguro makes this novel not a derivate of his previous works, because this theme is linked to all those listed above and adds something new to them, so that we can not say: “He had already said that in the previous novel “.
I liked the story, even if a little subdued and less incisive than the other old productions, but nevertheless intense, engaging and painful. I also liked the way in which he managed to build this post-Arcturian world, making us orientate so well with all the villages, populations, abbeys, hills, mountains. It is not an easy thing. We know that the most difficult task in a fantasy is the construction of a totally new world.
I found the book pleasant, smooth and complex. As I found interesting Ishiguro’s desire to try the genre, in this case the fantasy, a genre that I like. I recommend it to you, but I recommend, do not make the mistake of considering it a fantasy novel. Got it?
The review ends here. But now it’s your turn. Have you read the book or something else of Ishiguro? Did you like it? What did you think? Did you know him? You are interested? Let me know all about it below in the comments section and, please advise if you make spoilers, out of respect for those who have not read it. I thank you for taking the time to read my review, if you liked it, press like and share. It would help me a lot. And follow me, both on Facebook and on Twitter, of which I leave the links below.
P.S. Early this year I read and reviewed “Never Let Me Go” by Ishiguro. Here’s my review: http://www.mjpsreviews.com/2018/04/05/never-let-me-go-by-kazuo-ishiguro-review/