If you’ve followed my CBR Reviews these past three CBRs, then you know of my affinity for literary fiction. Particularly Kazuo Ishiguro’s novels. I’m teaching Never Let Me Go this spring to my ENGL 1002 students (and they actually *like* it, hooray!), and I’ve read all the others. It’s been ten years since Ishiguro’s last novel, and his collection of novellas/short stories, while perfectly serviceable, were nowhere near good enough for his fans as they greedily awaited his next novel. Last year, he announced that The Buried Giant would be coming out this year. My grad student friends and I all collectively freaked out. The minute my library placed its order, I was on.that.waiting.list. It arrived for me yesterday afternoon, and I have photographic evidence of my fangirling:
I might be a little obsessed.
I spent the last 24 hours devouring The Buried Giant like a hungry wolf, and for me, it did not disappoint.
The novel begins like an Arthurian quest that quickly transforms into an examination of memory, loss, and the dark aspects of love. Axl and Beatrice are an elderly couple who sense that their memories have been clouded. So they determine to seek their son, long living in a different village. They encounter a preteen boy kidnapped by ogres and rescued by a Saxon warrior, as well as an aging Arthurian knight facing his possibly final quest. The knight and the warrior seek to slay a dragon, whose breath is paralyzing the land with her magical mist. And nothing is as it seems.
Ishiguro draws on themes of memory, imagination, and loss in all his novels, and this one works with those themes, but in an entirely different kind of novel. This novel reminded me A LOT of The Unconsoled (in a good way), for it deals with the frustration of forgetting and the incredible pain that comes with remembrance. His relationships are complex and nuanced, and tears streamed down my face as I finished the novel.
I wish I could give this novel 6 or 7 stars. It’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read this CBR.