Tag Archives: Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant

With his latest novel, The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro has written an intriguing and beguiling story line.

The framework begins with an aging couple, Axl and Beatrice. They have set out on a journey to find their son, who they haven’t seen in years. He lives in a village not too far from them. Within this composite, the elements of the story line are filled with myth, legend, fantasy, the firmness, or weakness, of memory, and the structure of community.

The name Axl means “father of peace”. A good point to remember in the story. Beatrice means “bringer of joy”, “guide”. Dante, himself infused a woman named Beatrice as a guide in his work, “Divine Comedy”. These definitions play an integral part in the story.

Memory is a predominant factor within the pages. We often choose to forget issues within our lives, issues too painful for us to cope with at a given moment. Eventually those issues can catch up to us, and our mind can slowly open up to reveal the past we tried hard to forget. Memory is also a part of the aging process, and often our ability to remember diminishes as we age. Fear of the loss of remembering can wreak havoc upon us.

Britons and Saxons are peacefully living side by side, due to the “fog of memory” thrust upon them. As time goes by, Axl and Beatrice begin to remember incidents and events from their past. Their memories are slowly awakened, as the memory fog subtly lifts. Is it due to their age, that their memories are unclear, or is it due to an unseen force put upon them?

Read the magical and mythical story yourself, in order to find the answer. Within the pages the reader is carried into a land of Arthurian composition. King Arthur’s nephew, Gawain, an old knight is one of the characters who Axl and Beatrice meet, along with a warrior and a young boy. They encounter dragons, sprites, ogres along their journey. The characters, intermingled with each other, present the reader with a masterfully written story line, leaving the reader to question many important issues.

The story line, in my opinion, is an allegory for humanity, humanity as individuals, couples, community, and as a part of the whole within villages, towns and countries. The allegory encompasses the customs, spirituality and cultures within the human condition, including superstition and how it is a life force for many.

The Buried Giant
, in my opinion, is also metaphor for life’s memories and the fear and struggles endured through love and loss. Mass hysteria and/or a form of mass hypnosis or mass suggestion, superstition and spirituality, through fear, plays a major role within the pages. Pagan and Christian alike fear each other’s rituals, and that fear breeds irrational thoughts, and escalates hate.

I applaud Kazuo Ishiguro for his brilliance in structuring a storyline that is filled with minute details, details so vivid, the reader can see them before their eyes. I also praise him for giving the reader much food for thought regarding humanity and the human condition.


Filed under Blogrolls, Book Diva's Book Reviews, Family Dynamics, Fiction

Book Diva Review: Never Let Me Go

neverletmego Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, is a novel with a unique subject matter…which took me about fifty pages to understand. The book is a story line with disturbing ramifications imposed upon individuals.

The main character and narrator is a person named Kathleen, and the reader is given insight into her background, little by little. She grew up in a school, known as Hailsham, in the English countryside, along with her two close friends Tom and Ruth. Kathleen, who is a “carer”, is a quiet, observant and listens to, and watches, the subtleties that are told to them by their school guardians.

The guardians have a strict command over the children, and often treat them as if they were less than human. Once I understood the concept of the book, that issue infuriated me. We all have heard of orphanages and boarding schools that treat their students as if they were nonexistent, or treat them in an emotionally devoid manner. And, the resultant behavior of the adults forces a lifetime of emotional consequences on the children involved. Hailsham is just such a place. Its disciplinary and educational methods verge on the unethical.

That is the overtone of Never Let Me Go, the fact that humans are extremely inhumane to others. The human condition is examined in depth, without Ishiguro actually mentioning it outright. The children are treated as less than human, less than animals. The signs are there, everywhere the children are, and each time they attempt to learn about their backgrounds. Ethics, science, humanity and conditioning are explored in depth through Kathleen’s observance and quietude.

I am not divulging any of the story line, because to do so would definitely spoil it for the you, the reader/s of this review. You would know immediately what the story involves, and it is best that you don’t know. I will say that it is a disturbing book on so many levels, mainly beginning with humanity and the human condition. Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, had me questioning many things, and the whys and wherefores always came back to ethics. Science and ethics do not blend well within the pages, and I believe that is what Kazuo Ishiguro intended, as a whole, within the story. He wants the reader to ponder and question, to think about scientific advances and their merits and their flaws. Are they really advances, in the true sense. Are they really ethical? Do they really enhance life, or do they foster an attitude of disinterest in the outcomes in order to gain information?

So many disturbing scenes were depicted, and lack of emotion for the children was illuminated within the pages. It was not a happy read, not a positive read, but one that was not only sad, but extremely tragic.

Read Never Let Me Go, and let me know your thoughts.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Diva's Book Reviews, Fiction, Literature/Fiction