Sunday, 5 April 2020

Let's talk The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Anyone who knows me will know that I have a real passion for Arthurian legend. I have done countless projects on it throughout my time in education, the BBC adaptation of ‘Merlin’ still remains one of my favourite tv shows and I even went as far as naming all my Apple devices after ‘Knights of the Round Table’… Yepp my passion runs that deep…
So naturally I was beyond excited for this book when I saw it on my first year reading list.

Set in post Arthurian Britain where there is currently peace between the Briton and Saxon tribes, The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro tells the tale of Axl and Beatrice, an elderly Briton couple, as they embark across a mist-infused land on the quest of a lifetime. Originally in the hopes of finding their estranged son, their quest quickly takes an unexpected turn when they meet the infamous Sir Gawain and a Saxon Knight, Sir Wistan, and soon they set off to discover the root of the mysterious mist that causes them to forget… Desperate to regain their memories, and reunite with their son, Axl and Beatrice face many battles, but none-more-so than the battle to prove their true love.

This is a beautiful tale of unconditional love woven amongst the magic and mystic of Arthurian legend and was a pleasure to read from start to finish.

The third person narrative creates an omniscient feel which allows you to feel like you are watching the story unfold from a detached perspective and adds to the recital ambiance that legends exhibit. I could envision myself sitting around a campfire or in a pub listening to a storyteller regale the crowd.

While the plot is slow and not all together gripping, it does hold an element of curiosity and is fitting since the protagonists are an elderly couple. I was immersed in the story, not because of the fast-paced action and adventure, or lack of, but because of the characters. It is clear that each character has hidden secrets, and these become an integral part of the plot. Ishiguro effortlessly manipulates those secrets to capture the readers curiosity, and for me that was the driving force of the novel.

The Ambiguous ending leaves you pondering and ensures the novel remains in your thoughts long after you have put it down, always a winning quality for me!

This was the first of Ishiguro’s books I have read, and it was very clear from his use of language and literary techniques that he holds a Nobel Prize in literature – in my opinion well deserved if his other works are as moving as The Buried Giant. He has written an enthralling tale and while I may not pick up his other works out of choice right now, I know I will be in for an exceptional and imaginative journey should I ever pick them up in the future.


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