The Buried Giant – Reviewed by JR
Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel is set in an almost mythical version of medieval England. The Brits & the Saxons enjoy a largely peaceful coexistence brought on by a mysterious mist which has descended on the land and caused the past to become covered in a haze or forgotten altogether.
The story follows an elderly couple who must leave there village and visit their son in another part of the land. Along the way they become acquainted with an orphaned boy and a warrior and become entwined in a quest to kill the she-dragon the cause of the mist.
The Buried Giant begins as a hugely atmospheric novel as we encounter Axl and a frustrated Beatrice as she tries to hang on to the past and the memories of their married life together. Axl on the other hand can see the advantages of an obscured view of the past as when everything is remembered it will be for the bad as well as the good. Beatrice on the other hand imagines that their life will be like a story which you know will have a happy ending.
Towards the middle of the book it begins to drag as the different sides are set out against each other to defeat the dragon. It is worth persevering though as the final few chapters deliver a nice gentle twist which brings everything together and makes the novel worthwhile in what it tells about human nature and our relationship with the past. The final couple of pages are among the most moving I have ever read. It is up there alongside Ishiguro’s other great allegorical tale Never Let Me Go.