My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When the Swedish Academy awarded Kazuo Ishiguro the Nobel Prize in Literature, they described his novels as having “great emotional force.” This is the third novel of his I've read and I agree with that statement in The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, but there is a distance in all the relationships in The Buried Giant, which suppresses the emotions of the characters. One reason for this is due to the theme of lost memories. How can someone feel anything for what they can't remember? A second reason is the setting of England years after King Arthur's reign. There is an an odd mixture of formality and violence which seems to tie back to Camelot. This also dampens emotions.
The Buried Giant does have what I love the most in Ishiguro's writing, underlying themes that are approached in subtle ways. This novel isn't about Axl and Beatrice taking a journey to see their son or about Sir Gawain's loyalty to his mission. It's about aging, lost memories, and approaches to problems that lead to mixed results.
Steve Lindahl – author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul
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