Review: The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro

BuriedGiantThis was a book I was highly anticipating this year but, as someone who is a complete fusspot when it comes to matching covers on books I was naturally going to wait for a paperback copy. However, Tracy – the lovely woman who runs my favourite bookshop – let me borrow her ARC of it so I could finally read it. I’ve only ever read Never Let Me Go and that was a few years ago now, so I can’t exactly call myself an Ishiguro expert.

Set in 6th Century Britain after the death of King Arthur, in a country divided between Britons and Saxons, The Buried Giant follows an elderly couple who set out from their village to find their son. However, there is a mist that is covering the land; making memories hazy and reducing everyone’s perception. This is a very clever tool, it adds an air of intrigue and mystery to the novel but is also frustrating because everyone is an unreliable narrator or character. You can’t really believe anyone’s story!

Initially I loved this book, I did go in to it with some trepidation as I know a lot of people have said it was a little disappointing. It was great, it was very fairy-tale or fable, it was full of intrigue and fantasy; it really got me wanting to actually read some epic fantasy. Then I hit about 40% of the way through, pretty much at the start of Part II and I slowed. It started to lose my interest. This is really the point at which it switched from Axl and Beatrice in to the secondary characters points of view and… I really wasn’t interested in it. All I wanted to do is finish it because I wanted to know what was the actual point of it all?! The introduction of Sir Gawain was where, I feel, it started to lose it’s charm a bit.

This book had a charm about it, it was great in places but… it just didn’t resonate with me on the whole. It was good, the themes were good but I just found it somewhat cumbersome and clunky at times. Also, I hate books that just stop. I was just getting invested in it again and it just stops. It was necessary I think, but it still felt a bit dissatisfying.

It was by no means an awful book, it was just not as a whole as good as the first 90 or so pages were! This was a hard one to get through, but I think it is one that I will purchase myself when it is in paperback and reread as I feel maybe it would benefit from that. It has me thinking and I feel that maybe it’s one that I will have kinder thoughts of in hindsight! Right now, it’s a 3/5 but that is likely to change at some point.

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