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The buried giant


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The buried giant A novel

Ishiguro, Kazuo.


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From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize€€“winning novel The Remains of the Day comes a luminous meditation on the act of forgetting and the power of memory. 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.


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Editorial Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly.
Ishiguro's new novel is set in Arthurian England-not the mythic land of knights, castles, and pageants most of us are familiar with, but a primitive and rural country likely far closer to historical reality. This is a gray and superstitious place, rather than a battlefield alive with the color and movement of steeds and fluttering banners; it's sparsely inhabited and scarcely advanced. Candles are preciously hoarded, and simple folk cluster together for safety amid vast stretches of untamed and fear-inspiring wilderness. The grim-textured, circa-sixth-century landscape is also a country haunted by magic, where ogres loom in the dark and steal children, and dragons are hunted by faded warriors like Sir Gawain. But its magic remains in the background, an earthy fact of life rather than a dazzle of sparkling make believe. Here British peasants eke out a hardscrabble existence from caves dug into hillsides, while the recent Saxon invaders live in more-advanced villages of rudimentary huts. A strange fog hovers over the dreary countryside-where an uneasy peace has balanced on a knife edge since the end of the most recent wars-robbing the populace of its memories. Into this countryside our protagonists-an elderly, ailing British couple named Axl and Beatrice-embark on a pilgrimage to the village of their half-forgotten son. It's a sad, elegiac story, one that has a tone and texture suited to its subject matter: a dreamy journey, repetitive and searching as lost memory. Conversations are formal and stilted, but their carefully crafted formality lends an austere rigor to the proceedings-Axl and Beatrice are following a gentle old-people's quest, not a dashing young knight's. Although they do cover literal ground and encounter figures of myth and legend along the way, their real search is clearly interior, a painstaking effort to know themselves and each other by piecing together the vestiges of their past. Memory is inseparable from personhood, in Beatrice's view, and personhood must be known for love to be authentic. Though she and Axl seem devoted to each other ("Princess," he calls her insistently, though she's manifestly anything but), she believes that their devotion, in the absence of memory, may prove insufficient to keep them together when they die. Her guiding fear is that the couple will be separated in the afterlife-on the "island," as the world of the dead is represented here-if they can't show the Charon-like boatman tasked with rowing them over that they know each other, and love each other, well enough to be granted the rare privilege of crossing that last water together rather than alone. The gift of remembering, as it turns out, will come at a steep price, not for the two aging and kindhearted Britons but for their country. The Buried Giant is a slow, patient novel, decidedly unshowy but deliberate and precise-easy to read but difficult to forget. © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Review by Library Journal.
Though filled with all the trappings of fantasy, this exquisite tale of barely remembered legends, past wrongs, and relentless change is a multifaceted narrative offering layer after layer of story, metaphor, and reality. The wars between Romans and Britons have come and gone. Despite a perplexing forgetfulness that has fallen upon the land, Axl and Beatrice, an aging Briton couple, are determined to see their son. A Saxon warrior and an orphaned boy join them on their journey. As the group move forward, face new obstacles, and learn more of their history, the pall of forgetfulness is ever so slowly lifted. Ishiguro's (The Remains of the Day) tale is of a quest for understanding, of love and vengeance, of forgiveness and fear, and of truth and the mercy of forgetting. Reader David Horovitch weaves an account so rich and fluid that listeners will be delighted to be drawn into this world. Horovitch is a master of subtle voice variations that differentiate characters while still allowing listeners to draw their own conclusions about motivations. VERDICT An essential purchase for most libraries. Suggest this audiobook not only for lovers of Tolkien but also for sophisticated listeners of any genre. ["This quasi-fantasy falls short as the medium to deliver the author's lofty message," differs the LJ 2/1/15 review of the Knopf hc.]-Lisa Youngblood, Harker Heights P.L., TX © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Booklist.
In Ishiguro's first novel since 2006 (Never Let Me Go), the award-winning author reinvents himself once again. It is a fable-like story about an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, who reside in a village that is made up of underground warrens and is sometimes menaced by ogres. One day they get it into their heads to track down their son, who vanished years ago, although they cannot remember exactly why. In fact, their whole village seems to be struggling with memory loss, with residents forgetting from one day to the next key incidents and people from their pasts. Despite their advanced years and their many aches and pains, Axl and Beatrice set out on a perilous journey, encountering along the way a smooth-talking boatman, a wailing widow, and, most momentously, an ancient, garrulous knight and an intrepid warrior. Ishiguro's story is a deceptively simple one, for enfolded within its elemental structure are many profound truths, including its beautiful and memorable portrait of a long-term marriage and its subtle commentary on the eternity of war, all conveyed in the author's mesmerizing prose. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Two of Ishiguro's novels, The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, have more than a million copies in print and were adapted into acclaimed films; pent-up demand will fuel requests for his latest work.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.

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